Adam Bodnar, former ombudsman, Andrzej Poczobut, correspondent of “Gazeta Wyborcza” in Belarus, currently imprisoned by the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, and Agnieszka Jankowiak-Maik, a history teacher known as Grandmother of Hista, were awarded the first Medal of Freedom of Speech in history. Awards were granted in three categories: Media, Institution and Citizen. The Freedom of Speech Medal for the testimony of life was awarded to Marian Turski, a former prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The ceremonial gala was held at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk.
During the ceremonial gala of the Medal of Freedom of Speech at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, we met the winners (including the winner of a special award) of the Medal of Freedom of Speech.
Medals in three categories
The Freedom of Speech medals were presented for the first time in three categories: Media, Institution and Citizen. Until July 30, the Grand Press Foundation was collecting applications. In category Media they could be done by the editorial boards of the Polish media, in the category Institution the applicants were non-governmental organizations, foundations and associations, and in the category Citizen – adult Internet users.
In category Institution the laureate was Adam Bodnar, former ombudsman. There were also nominees Paweł Grzesiowski, expert of the Supreme Medical Council for COVID-19 and Ewa Wrzosek, prosecutor, member of the Lex Super Omnia association.
In category Media the winner was Andrzej Poczobut, correspondent of Gazeta Wyborcza in Belarus, currently imprisoned by the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The Grand Press Foundation also indicated candidates earlier Jarosław Jabrzyk, editor-in-chief of “Superwizjer” TVN and Piotr Pacewicz, editor-in-chief of OKO.Press;
In category Citizen she became the laureate Agnieszka Jankowiak-Maik, a history teacher known as Grandmother of Hista. The following were also nominated: Katarzyna Augustynek, a street activist known as Grandma Kasia and Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The Freedom of Speech Medal for the testimony of life was awarded to a former prisoner of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp Marian Turski.
According to the regulations, the Freedom of Speech Medal may be awarded to people who engage in activities for the common good, including: civic, social, cultural, artistic, scientific, journalistic and journalistic activities. The event is organized to promote wise words in the social space and outstanding people who proclaim them, mature public debate and maintain freedom of speech in Poland.
President of the Grand Press Foundation: Let’s do our best not to give power, no power, to give up freedom of speech
The president of the Grand Press Foundation, Weronika Mirowska, pointed out that “among the 21 demands of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee, written down by the strikers 41 years ago, only the seventh concerned wages”. – On the other hand, in the third point, the lawyers demanded: to respect the freedom of speech, print and publication guaranteed in the constitution of the Polish People’s Republic, and thus not to repress independent publishing houses and to make the mass media available to representatives of all religions – she pointed out.
She assessed that “it is a sad paradox that after more than three decades after the fall of the Polish People’s Republic, this demand is still valid”. – Like the workers back then, today we demand that the freedom of speech guaranteed in the constitution be respected and that independent media, including television, are not repressed, she said.
– When we started working on the Freedom of Speech Medal several months ago, we did not think that 2021 would be so difficult that the government’s goal would be to shut the mouths of journalists and limit the civic right to information. A year ago, we believed that Poland would not follow the path of Hungary, which lost its free media. Today we know that we were naive – said Mirowska.
As she said, “the destruction of Polish public media, the takeover by the state of the regional press and lex TVN, that is, an attempt to take control of the largest private TV broadcaster, are no longer warning signals, it is already an alarm.” – This alarm is loudly and boldly initiated by candidates for the Medal of Freedom of Speech and we would like to thank them very much for it. Let us do everything not to give us power, no power, to give up freedom of speech – she summed up.
Grand Press Foundation, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: TVN24