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Przekrój journalist acquitted of violating unfair competition law

On Thursday, 2 June 2011, Anna Rucka, a journalist with the Przekrój weekly, was acquitted by the District Court in Zakopane. Ms Rucka was accused of disseminating false business information, a misdemeanour under the Polish unfair competition law. The case was conducted as part of the Observatory of the Freedom of Media in Poland Programme.In the misdemeanour complaint she was charged with including information harmful to Radio Alex, an advertising firm, in her article “Prohibition in Zakopane” published in July 2009 . The firm was the aggrieved party in the proceedings. The article makes no mention of firm’s business operations. It refers, however, to the actions taken by its owner P.S.  The article reads that P.S. was involved in amending Zakopane’s local law on the alcohol beverage sales policy. In the author’s opinion the new law may result in the bankruptcy of many catering businesses in several years’ time.

In his verbal reasons for the judgement of acquittal, the judge focused on the incorrect statement of law given in the complaint. In the court’s opinion, the journalist’s conduct did not fulfill the requisite elements of the alleged misdemeanour. The State Treasury was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings.

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