Vienna, 1 February 2018 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was concerned to find out that a new bill can seriously affect and threaten freedom of speech.
The draft legislation for this law would criminalize statements about certain historical events and set financial fines or a maximum three year jail term for any person claiming that the Nazi death camps were “Polish” or accuses the country of being complicit. Any implications regarding the Holocaust or denial of the crimes against the Polish nation done by the Ukrainian nationalists during the Volyn massacre in World War II would be punishable by law.
The ruling party (PiS) has stated that this law is “necessary to protect Poland´s international reputation”, and president Andrzej Duda, who backs it, now has 21 days to sign the law.
“We have serious concerns that this law is a direct step towards censorship, weakening of free speech and academic and historical discourses” Oliver Vujovic SEEMO Secretary General stated. “
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.