Published: January 11, 2016
Democracy is based on debate and freedom of speech together with transparency in public life and equal treatment of citizens before the law. The Polish mainstream media, including TVP, TVN, Gazeta Wyborcza, for the past decade have been very one sided in favor of the PO government and against the PiS opposition. The PO government that just lost the elections purged a large number of freethinking independent journalists* from TVP, as their first act. In reality there has been until now very little freedom of speech and no true debate of important issues, what led to massive protests by hundreds of thousands and even millions of citizens. Such protests were often ignored by the media, or if at all noticed, then subjectively reported by TVP, TVN and other mainstream media.
*A list of some well-known journalists fired during the PO government between 2007 and 2015: Bronisław Wildstein, Rafał Ziemkiewicz, Jacek Karnowski, Krzysztof Skowroński, Marek Pyza, Anita Gargas, Katarzyna Hejke, Tomasz Sakiewicz, Michał Karnowski, Jacek Sobala, Joanna Lichocka, Anna Sarzyńska, Witold Gadowski, Mariusz Pilis, Agata Ławniczak, Jolanta Hajdasz, Wanda Zwinogrodzka, Artur Dmochowski, Piotr Skwieciński, Maciej Świrski, Krzysztof Karwowski, Marcin Wikło, Bartłomiej Wróblewski.
We support the PiS Government in bringing pluralism into the Polish public life and mainstream media in order to eliminate the existing information monopoly.
One of a long list of censorship examples: In November 2015 the new Polish President Andrzej Duda was allowed 14 minutes air time in national public media whereas his opponent Petru, who calls for protests against the government, has received 6 hours of air time – that is 25 times more. Another example: In the years 2007-2015 of PO government, a few thousands protests against gross violations of democratic principles took place in Poland.
There were protests against restricting freedom of speech, assembly and religion, among others. The biggest street protests gathered more than a million citizens. Some of the largest campaigns collected more than 2 million signatures. Other examples of extreme desperation of the Polish people under the PO rule include 3 different cases of self-immolation in an act of protest against violations of human rights. One of these acts took place in 2011 in front of the headquarters of PO Prime Minister - currently EU President Donald Tusk. A 49 year old former tax department employee and father of several children left an accusatory farewell letter to Tusk in protest against the way he was treated after disclosing corruption within the system. Such dramatic forms of protest have not occurred in Poland since the communist times. Total silence in the media on all these issues is a powerful testimony of deep corrosion of democratic principles during the PO rule in Poland.
We support the PiS government in its effort to bring balance into the Tribunal Constitution.
Contrary to what has been heard, Judges of the Constitutional Court themselves wrote the new law about the Constitutional Court. Therefore, they acted in the position of conflict of interest by writing the law governing their own case which extended their own competences and powers, and mixed legislative and judicial powers. Under public pressure, they subsequently had to adjudicate this law they have written for themselves as “partially” unconstitutional. Today, Chairman of the Court, A. Rzepliński does not respect the law enacted by a democratically elected parliament of Poland, in fact appropriating the absolute power for himself. The debate in the media does not reflect the scale of outrage against the abuse of power and disregard for the law by Chairman Rzepliński.
Unfortunately the Polish legal community demonstrates professional solidarity with the judges and does not speak up against the flagrant abuse of power by their leaders. The Constitutional Court should be impartial and should represent all sides of the political spectrum in a balanced way. The former PO government appointed 12 of 15 judges of the Constitutional Court and tried to appoint another 5 judges before their term in office expired in order to secure full control over the Court in anticipation of the defeat in the October 2015 elections. This action was unacceptable as no departing government should rule on behalf of the incoming government.
We support the PiS government in its effort to fight corruption.
The justice system has the lowest public trust among public institutions in Poland as a result of extensive corruption devastating the justice system for years. Rampant corruption, the government buying the media for support through pressure, payments, advertisements and other means are only some of the problems pushed upon Poland during the last eight years of the PO rule.
We are concerned about free speech and democracy in Europe and demand immediate discussion on ethical reporting in European media!
An open and honest debate in the media and freedom of speech is the foundation of democracy in Europe. We are concerned about the phenomenon of conspiracy of silence or even acts of deliberately misleading the public by the big European media. Recent events of mass sexual assaults by Islamic immigrants initially were intentionally ignored by the major media. This case shows that despite presumed pluralism of the mainstream media we have a growing problem of top-down control of information, censorship, intentional silencing, and in extreme cases outright lies in the European media.
Poland experienced this political correctness censorship and conspiracy of silence in connection with the death of the President of Poland in 2010 plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, and 95 highest officials heading to Katyn. A flood of absurd reports and pure misinformation not supported by any evidence circulated rapidly in the most prestigious European media, while facts based on serious sources could not and still cannot get through to the European public, still unable to break the wall of “political correctness” against the truth.
Today again, there is no fair reporting of the situation in Poland, including actions of the democratically elected government, in the major European media. There is no reporting based on facts but mainly emotional attacks, and in many cases distorting and misleading propaganda. The scale of the censorship phenomenon in Europe as shown by recent events in Germany was succinctly described by a former German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich as “a cartel of silence.” It is clear that suppression of genuine pluralism and unfettered debate in the European media is alarming. Thus the corrosion of democracy becomes a serious problem for the increasing number of the European countries.
With the sense of co-responsibility for the democratic foundation of the European Union and the well-being of its citizens, we call for an immediate genuine debate on the following fundamental issues of freedom of speech, freedom of press, and the future of Europe:
1) How to restore real freedom of speech in Europe in major media and support a network of independent social media?
2) How to rebuild a fair relationship in the European Union as a voluntary union of nation states based on equal rights?
3) How to restore a free market in the EU?
4) How to get rid of corruption and bureaucracy?
5) How to support and protect the Christian and patriotic values?
6) How to create a mechanism that would assure the emergence of real leaders of the European Union – leaders concerned with pubic good, leaders with wisdom, courage, integrity, vision, and ability to defend the EU against false authorities?
7) How to ensure genuine protection of the heritage, identity and culture of the European nations?
We call for an immediate response by the European Commission and the European Parliament to the questions raised in this petition. We call for scheduling dates for debates on these important issue. We invite all citizens of the European countries who recognize the problems raised in this petition and diagnose the situation in a similar way to join us. We want and we will take effective action for the protection of the European Union and the ideals on which it was founded.
Please sign this petition and send the link to as many concerned citizens as possible.
The part of this petition concerning corrosion of free speech in Europe and the need for debate on the EU basic issues - has been included in a separate petition - HERE. Help distribute the link to this petition among EU citizens.