Inquiry into alleged propagating of fascism by TVN's camera operator discontinued

TVN24

TVN24 News in EnglishInquiry into alleged propagating of fascism by TVN's operator Piotr Wacowski has been discontinued

Prosecutor’s office in Katowice has discontinued the inquiry into alleged propagating of fascism by TVN’s camera operator Piotr Wacowski during the making of the "Superwizjer" report on Polish neo-nazis.

The information about discontinuation of the investigation was at first reported by tvn24.pl portal and later confirmed by the spokesman for the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, Waldemar Łubniewski. As he said, the inquiry was discontinued on the 14th of February. In January 2018, "Superwizjer" TVN’s journalists revealed the effects of the journalistic investigation regarding, among other things, operations of the "Pride and Modernity" association.

Thanks to the footage recorded with a hidden camera, they showed to the public the "128th Adolf Hitler’s birthday party" that was organised in May 2017 in a forest nearby the southern town of Wodzisław Śląski. The footage shows red flags with swastikas hanging on the trees, a "shrine" in memory of Adolf Hitler with his black-and-white likeness, as well as huge wooden swastika soaked with grill lighting fluid that was put on fire after dawn.

In the video there are also the participants of the party dressed in Wehrmacht uniforms, proposing toasts for "Adolf Hitler and our fatherland, beloved Poland". They also share a cake with icing in the colours of the Third Reich. The investigation into the "birthday party" was carried out by the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Gliwice. Seven participants of the party were accused of propagating fascism, one of them was already sentenced.

Before the court in Gliwice, proceedings are underway regarding banning the "Pride and Modenrnity" association that organised the forest party.

The prosecution also focused on Piotr Wacowski and charged him with propagating fascism whilst making the TVN report. The Internal Security Agency officers came to Wacowski’s home and handed him official order to appear at the prosecutor’s office.

The National Public Prosecutor’s Office, however, informed in November that presenting charges was premature. The thread regarding the journalist was directed to the regional prosecutor’s office.

"In the course of the investigation one of the organisers of this 'birthday party' testified that Wacowski had encouraged him to take illegal action against foreigners staying in Poland," said prosecutor Łubniewski.

"In order to verify his testimony, the prosecution requested the so-called rew footage from TVN. The station said that they didn’t have the materials," the spokesman added.

Prosecutor Łubniewski also added that the said thread regarding the TVN operator’s alleged inciting hatred against nationality was discontinued due to lack of sufficient grounds for suspicion of offense, in line with the rule stating that all doubts unable to dispel should be judged in favour of he suspect.

Also discontinued was the thread regarding the alleged "Nazi hail" performed by the Wacowski. The prosecution decided that by doing so, he only attempted to authenticate himself in the eyes of the participants, otherwise his behaviour could jeopardise the making of the report.

"After analysing the evidence, the prosecutor became convinced that under these particular circumstances, performing such gestures wasn’t meant to propagate nazism, nor to encourage other participants to do so," said prosecutor Łubniewski.

In November 2018, drawing on the testimony by one of the organisers of the "party" Mateusz S., wPolityce.pl wrote that "the whole event was staged by the order of some mysterious men, it was a masquerade, for which its organiser was paid 20,000 zlotys".

TVN station strenuously denied the accusation and underscored that the authors of the report acted in accordance with the highest journalistic standards. The station also informed about filing a lawsuit against those who insinuated that the recorded events were staged.

Prosecutor Łubniewski explained that the thread regarding handing over the money is still under investigation. "The prosecutor examines the collected evidence," he said.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP