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Statement on investigation launched against TVN reporters

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has issued an open position statement to express concern about the atmosphere that is being created by the Ministry of Justice, special services and the ruling party around TVN journalists who reported on a group of neo-Nazis celebrating Hitler’s birthday.

The HFHR used this opportunity to remind that under the law, the ABW is appointed to prosecute the most serious crimes, and a summons to appear at an interview could have been sent by a prosecutor’s office by mail.

In its position statement, the HFHR noted that according to the scholarly authorities of Polish criminal law, journalists who employ undercover reporting methods that involve the use of a journalistic sting may successfully oppose criminal charges by invoking the defence of exclusion of responsibility. In order to do that, they must show the following elements of the test of exclusion of responsibility: (1) the journalist’s conduct must objectively meet all the constituent elements of a criminal offence as defined in the Criminal Code and must present a higher than negligible degree of social harm; (2) the sting must be used to preserve an important, legitimate public (social) interest; (3) the sting is aimed at obtaining and disseminating factual information obtained with the exercise of a special degree of care; (4) the journalist’s reporting must concern a problem that is important for the general public.

The Foundation’s position statement can be read here.

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