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12.01.2018

Poles in hate speech campaign against German TV reporter and MEP

by Jane Whyatt

TV reporter Anne Dittert has been subjected to hate speech from senior Polish figures, including a vice president of  the European Parliament, Ryszard Czarnecki, after making a documentary about the ruling PiS (Law and Justice) party and its attitude to criticism.

Poles in hate speech campaign against German TV reporter and MEP ADittert, Annette Dittert, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ms Dittert accompanied the Liberal MEP Roza von Thun on an exploration of the way the ruling party confronts criticism. They filmed  street demonstrations and protests against the controversial reform of the justice system. To balance her report she also interviewed the editor of the pro-PiS newspaper Gazeta Polska.

Yet the screening of the documentary on the Europe-wide Arte network unleashed a spate of hostile comments on Twitter, including death threats. Both Roza von Thun and the  reporter were targeted. And the PiS vice president of the European Parliament Ryszard Czarnecki accused Ms Dittert of behaving like Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi film-maker and propagandist. He said she had made a film that was “anti-Polish“. Ms Dittert confessed in a TV news interview that she was shocked that such a senior European politician should make such comments, stirring up old enmity between Poland and Germany.

"Like a Nazi propgandist" accusations 

Roza von Thun made a speech in the European Parliament in December 2017 describing how right wing demonstrators in Poland had hanged effigies of herself and five other MEPs, and openly marched with fascist slogans and symbols. She was contributing to the parliament’s debate about a European ban on fascist slogans and symbols.

Both von Thun and Dittert are consulting lawyers with a view to taking legal action.

 





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