According to the court’s verdict, an internet user who defamed Bertold Kittel, a journalist from “Supervisor” TVN, will have to pay a fine of PLN 1,000 and cover the costs of the trial. Jan Janiak, who was hiding on social media under the pseudonym smok05, wrote on Twitter that the “Polish neo-Nazis” report on Hitler’s birthday, awarded with the Grand Press award, was a “stranglehold”.
As reported by Press, on Friday the judgment issued by the District Court for Warsaw-Mokotów on the entries published on Twitter in December 2018 by a user with the pseudonym smok05 on the “Superwizjer” report under the title “Polish neo-Nazis” became final.
The Internet user in tweets accused one of the authors of the material, Bertold Kittel, of “making a staging of Hitler’s Birthday”. “It seems that it was a hoax with deliberate intoxication, decorations set by the TVN operator, forcing the desired statements when drunk,” wrote smok05. He published many more entries of this type.
According to Press, the profile administrator, Jan Janiak, will have to pay a fine of PLN 1,000, an additional fee of PLN 200 and reimburse the injured person for the costs of the trial and the fee of his attorney. The court also ordered that the judgment be made public by posting it on the court’s website for 30 days, as requested by the prosecutor.
Criminal proceedings against a troll
The TVN journalist wanted to sue the author of the entries for defamation, but he could not do it in a civil manner, because the internet user hid his real data. Therefore, Kittel decided to initiate criminal proceedings, accusing the person using the nickname smok05 privately under Art. 212 par. 2 of the Criminal Code. As Press writes, the journalist hoped that the identity of the internet user would be helped by the police.
“In a private indictment, the representative of the journalist, Barbara Kondracka, only asked for the accused to be found guilty and for the conviction to be made public. It was only during the trial that it was revealed who, hiding under the nickname smok05, insults on internet forums and on Twitter” – he reminds Press. In October 2019, the journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza” Bartosz Chyży revealed that under Nick dragon05 there is a nearly 60-year-old entrepreneur from Gliwice, Jan Janiak. When this information came to light, the man blocked and then deleted the account.
Art. 212. [Zniesławienie]
§ 1. Whoever slanders another person, group of persons, institution, legal person or organizational unit without legal personality for such proceedings or properties that may degrade it in the public opinion or expose it to the loss of trust needed for a given position, profession or type of activity, is subject to a fine or penalty of restriction of liberty. § 2. If the perpetrator commits the act specified in § 1 by means of mass communication, he shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to one year. § 3. In the event of a conviction for an offense specified in § 1 or 2, the court may order the victim, the Polish Red Cross, or for another social purpose indicated by the victim. § 4. The prosecution of the offense specified in § 1 or 2 is private prosecution.
Report “Polish neo-Nazis”
In 2018, the report by Bertold Kittel, Anna Sobolewska and Piotr Wacowski entitled “Polish neo-Nazis” won the Grand Press award in the “investigative journalism” category, and Kittel was chosen the Journalist of the Year for this material.
At the beginning of 2017, journalists from “Superwizjer” TVN managed to penetrate the milieu of Polish neo-Nazis with hidden cameras. Without revealing their identity, they contacted, among others, members of the Pride and Modernity association, and in May they were invited to the celebration of Adolf Hitler’s 128th birthday.
The event took place on a hill, in a forest near Wodzisław Śląski. The recordings recorded by journalists of “Supervisor” show red flags with swastikas, hear Nazi military marches flowing from loudspeakers, and a “altar” was built in honor of Adolf Hitler with his black and white image. Additionally, a large wooden swastika, hung in a central place, was soaked in barbecue kindling and set on fire after dark. The participants of this event took pictures of themselves against it.
Main photo source: TVN supervisor