The anti-TVN Lex, which is to be dealt with by the Sejm on Wednesday, caused a demonstration in over a hundred Polish cities to defend the freedom of the media.
Read the report on tvn24.pl: Protests in defense of free media
Thank you for having gathered in such large numbers on the streets of cities to defend free media. Thank you for your support and for the vote not only in our defense, but in defense of freedom of speech and the independence of the media, without which there is no democracy.
Below are the cities in which there were protests to defend media freedom on Wednesday:
About 150 people took part in the demonstration “Free media, free people, free Poland” at Wolności Square in Biała Podlaska.
Protests in defense of independent media were also held in the Białystok market. – Why are we here? Why do free Polish citizens have to come here instead of spending time with their families, for walks or in garden cucumbers? Why is this government forcing us to protest, to speak up, asked the President of Białystok, Tadeusz Truskolaski. “Because he wants to take our freedom,” he said.
About 150 people gathered in the market square of Bolesławiec to defend the media. The gathered people had banners, speeches and slogans “free media”. – Free people can live only in free Poland – said a participant of the demonstration.
A protest in defense of free media was also held in the Old Market Square in Bydgoszcz. Several hundred people demonstrated with banners and flags. The mayor of the city, Rafał Bruski, was among the participants.
– What is freedom? We are born free and we learn freedom. A man is born an inhabitant, but he becomes a citizen. We become citizens here. We are aware that without our participation, things are happening that should not be happening – said a participant in the protests in Częstochowa.
Demonstrations were also held in Gdańsk. – It is important that in Poland they are free from government, free from power, independent media. We are here to defend the independence of the media from the authorities and to defend a private, independent television station – said Magdalena Adamowicz, MEP in Gdańsk. – If someone takes away our free media, it takes away our freedom – she added.
The inhabitants of Gorzów Wielkopolski demonstrated their support for free media in the Old Market Square. Several dozen people gathered at the Tuesday protest.
In Jelenia Góra, residents protested at the Town Hall Square, where several dozen people gathered.
Demonstrations in defense of free media were also held in Katowice. – I do not agree that the media should be appropriated, that my freedom would be appropriated in this way – said a participant of the demonstration.
– I’m starting the day with TVN, I’m finishing the day with TVN and I can’t imagine that this will change – said the protestor.
– Free media is a fundamental issue for me. I went through censorship, I went through two TV shows. Therefore, I have to be here today – said the protestor in Kielce.
Another demonstrator admitted that she was on vacation in the vicinity of Kielce. – Kielce was the closest city to our vacation and we said we had to come here. These are the media. This is one of the most important things in a democracy. There is no free media, there is no free country – she said.
About a hundred people gathered in the square in front of the town hall in Koszalin. – We defend the freedom of the press, journalists, our own freedom – perhaps in the future. It is not known what this authority is able to do to us, said the protesters.
Hundreds of protesters also gathered at the Main Square in Krakow. The demonstration was held under the slogan – “Free media, free people”.
– Free media, free Poland. We will not let TVN24 take away. The only station that tells the truth – said one of the protesters in Olsztyn. – I support the protest in defense of TVN, because I believe that this station is credible and tells the truth. I am a representative of young people here, because I can see that there are a handful of them, but I strongly believe that they will believe that there is a chance for reliable media – said Adrian, who participated in the protest.
The mayor of Olsztyn, Piotr Grzymowicz, was also among the demonstrators. – We came here to the Olsztyn Town Hall to say out loud – we do not agree to the appropriation of the media. We do not agree that we do not have access to freedom of speech, to implement our plans – he said.
– We are united by a common cause. Free media, freedom of speech, right to information. Rights that are included in the constitution that we, as citizens, will not allow ourselves to be taken from us, said a protestor in Opole, where several hundred people gathered at Plac Wolności.
In Warsaw, demonstrations in defense of free media took place in front of the Sejm. Politicians from the opposition groups spoke to the participants of the demonstration from the stage. – Today in Poland there is a wave, a wave of people who will not look at each other distrustfully because they have a great goal ahead of them. Because they know that only together, only with full energy, will we be able to counter this evil wave. A wave of contempt, a wave of hatred, a wave of lies, said Donald Tusk during his speech to the Sejm.
As he added, “this government wants to shut down the independent media because they realize that their most dangerous opponent is the truth.” – For some time the authorities can be based on lies, fear, indifference, resignation and people’s doubts. But I think I can say it on behalf of all of you – you will not win because we will not be silent. We will scream loudly. We will not listen to your lies – said Tusk.
– The more unrighteous, wicked, corrupt and authoritarian the government is, the more it is based on civil liberties. The more he dislikes when citizens are free, the more he wants to control them – said Gabriela Morawska-Stanecka, Deputy Speaker of the Senate in her speech during a protest before the Sejm.
– This government is most afraid not of the mere fact of losing elections, but of the consequences of losing an election. In every democratic country, each power, after its surrender, is held accountable for what it has done with its homeland, said the Deputy Speaker of the Senate from the Polish People’s Party – Polish Coalition, Michał Kamiński.
– For every Polish woman, it is obvious for every Pole that throwing out TVN, throwing out the owner of TVN, closing this station would be a step that will move Poland to the group of countries that includes Turkey, Hungary, and Russia – said Michał Kobosko from Poland 2050.
As he said, “there are no shades of gray here, there is nothing in between”. – There are countries where there is freedom of speech and others where it is simply not. In the latter countries, it is the dictators who decide what people should feel, what people should think, he said. He added that “there is no consent for Jarosław Kaczyński to decide what Poles will listen to, what they will watch, what they will read”.
Protests also in other cities
Protests were also held in many other cities not mentioned above, including: Grudziądz, Legnica, Płock, Piotrków Trybunalski, Rzeszów, Sanok, Słupsk, Stargard, Starachowice, Rzeszów, Tarnobrzeg, Toruń, Zamość and Zgierz.