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ARTE and AFP journalists reprimanded by Polish court. Poland's ombudsman intervenes

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

TVN24 News in English, PAP,
Obozowisko migrantów w Kuźnicy. Nagranie MON z 18 listopada
TVN24Migrant campsite near Kuźnica (November 18)

Three journalists from ARTE television and AFP agency were reprimanded by a Polish court in September for entering the area where a state of emergency has been imposed due to the migrant crisis. Poland's Commissioner for Human Rights, Marcin Wiącek, says the ban on entering the zone has been introduced in violation of the constitution. The ombudsman expects the journalists be acquitted, and has filed for a cassation to the Supreme Court.

The case pertains to three journalists, two German nationals, Ulrike and Andreas, who work for French-German ARTE television, and Polish reporter Maja Czarnecka, who works for AFP branch in Warsaw.

The reporters were detained on September 28 under suspicion of violating the ban on entering the state of emergency area. They were taken to a police station and had their equipment, documents and phones confiscated. They spent a night locked in cells, and they were taken to a court. Ulrike and Andreas entered the courtroom in handcuffs.

The local court found the journalists guilty and reprimanded them.

Journalists and reporters are banned from entering the state of emergency zone, and as a result all information about the situation comes from the Polish Border Guard or other state institutions.

Ombudsman: ban is unconstitutional, reprimand should be revoked

Poland's Commissioner for Human Rights, Marcin Wiącek, has filed to the Supreme Court for a cassation of the ruling by the regional court, requesting the reporters to be acquitted.

The obmudsman argues that the ruling that the government issued an order introducing state of emergency without specifying details outlined by the president, regarding the exact area, places, time, etc. of restricting the constitutional right to free movement. According to Wiącek, the government also failed to specify who exactly was to be banned from entering the zone, and instead imposed a general ban for the whole area at at all times.

Commissioner for Human Rights Marcin WiącekTVN24

The commissioner also underscores that the government order violated the constitution and press law, as it prevented journalists from executing their constitutional right to collect information in the state of emergency zone.

Wiącek added that provisions included in a government ordinance can only specify certain issues of the law, but not regulate public life to a greater extent than the law. Furthermore, the ombudsman argues, ordinance provisions cannot directly lead to violation of constitutional standards.

In conclusion, the Commissioner for Human Rights argues that the ordinance issued by the government was unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. And as a result, it could not have served as a basis for reprimanding the reporters.


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP,

Źródło zdjęcia głównego:  PAP/Artur Reszko

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