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The campaign “Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code”

Prior to the Parliamentary elections, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Polish Chamber of Press Publishers and the Association of Local Newspapers conducted the campaign ‘Let’s delete Article 212 of the Criminal Code’.

The objective of the campaign was to show that everybody can be found guilty of the offence under Article 212 of the Criminal Code, highlight the associated threats and present alternative methods to ascertain the legal liability of defamers.

Campaign organisers have also been seeking for politicians’ declarations of endorsement of the cause. ‘We have gathered 146 such declarations’, says Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, campaign coordinator. Among the policy makers who supported the campaign were Grzegorz Schetyna (The Civic Platform, PO), Speaker of the Sejm, Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) political party, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski (PO), Minister of Justice, Marek Balicki (The Left Democratic Alliance, SLD), Marek Borowski (Social Democracy of Poland, SdPl), Andrzej Czuma (PO), Ryszard Kalisz (SLD), Paweł Kowal (Poland Comes First, PJN), Janusz Palikot (Palikot’s Movement), Jarosław Sellin (PiS) and Tadeusz Sławecki (Polish Peasants’ Party, PSL).

Campaign organisers highlighted the negative effects of the application of article 212 and emphasised that civil remedies can be well used in cases of the infringement of personal interests by libel or slander.

The initiative has been supported by prominent journalists and column writers. ‘Prisons are not for words’, says Piotr Najsztub in one of the videos promoting the campaign. The action was also endorsed by the Head of the Poland’s Bar Association Andrzej Zwara.

‘So far, 3064 people have supported our action on Facebook. We received many supportive emails and phone calls, there were people who wanted to sign the petition to abolish article 212. Additionally, we were approached by several victims of this article. We are currently documenting all these cases’, says Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska.

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