Protesters shout slogans during a counter-demonstration against a far-right rally in support of Poland's Holocaust bill in Warsaw, Poland on February 5, 2018. (Reuters/Agencja Gazeta/Dawid Zuchowicz)
By Attila Mong/CPJ Europe Correspondent on March 12, 2018 6:00 PM ET
Entering the historic site of the Gdansk shipyard, one cannot miss the wooden boards hanging over the famous gate No. 2. Handwritten in 1980, they display the list of demands of the strikers led by Lech Walesa, the founder of Solidarity, the independent trade union movement that pushed for social change in communist Poland. Number three on the list demands freedom of speech and freedom of the press, which had been denied to Poles for generations.
Twenty-eight years later, the extent to which this freedom is enjoyed is in doubt, with many journalists saying authorities are trying to impose new restrictions on their right to work freely. The government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, has taken control of public media, threatened reporters with legal action, limited access to officials, and used advertising and subscriptions to wield influence over news outlets. I learned on a recent visit to Warsaw and Gdansk that some journalists are worried the government will try to bring the country's privately owned press under tighter control before parliamentary elections scheduled for 2019.
Read the entire Poland Mission Journal here.