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The court dismissed the election suit of the Confederation against “Gazeta Wyborcza”

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The Warsaw court dismissed the lawsuit filed by the Confederation against “Gazeta Wyborcza” in the electoral procedure. The case concerned the newspaper’s statements about a health group’s program. The court found that the article was of a journalistic nature and, moreover, in the court’s opinion, “the challenged statement did not contain false information” and the journalists were entitled to the wordings used.

Confederation on Thursday filed a lawsuit in the electoral mode against “Gazeta Wyborcza”. As Attorney Wawer said at the time, lies and manipulations began to be multiplied about the postulates of this group regarding health care, e.g. that the Confederation wants to take away Poles’ access to public health care or wants to introduce a limit on spending per person, above which you will have to pay from your own pocket.

The Confederation demanded correction, removal of a fragment of the article and payment of PLN 20,000. PLN for the organization of this year’s Independence March. On Friday – in accordance with the electoral procedure – the district court heard the case and in the afternoon issued a ruling dismissing the group’s application.

In the justification, the court quoted the disputable fragment of the “GW” article of August 21 this year, which was primarily the subject of the lawsuit. It read: “The health policy is also revolutionary. Here, as in education, there is to be a voucher, this time for health, and the secret to success will be healthy competition of public and private entities that will lower prices and increase quality. The value of the voucher, as they said Confederation politicians in the media, would amount to PLN 4,340. Whether this amount is enough for anything, the politicians themselves cannot answer. But if more expensive treatment is needed, you will have to buy insurance. It is not included in the liquidation program. National Health Fund (although it was mentioned by Mentzen), there is instead ‘the liquidation of his monopoly'”.

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Court: The article was journalistic and did not contain untruth

“Undoubtedly, the article itself was published during the election campaign. (…) This material is not election material because it does not come from the election committee. It remains to be assessed whether this article is a form of electioneering?” – said judge Magdalena Antosiewicz in the justification of the ruling. As she pointed out, “there is no general rule that a publisher or journalist conducts electioneering during the election campaign by simply publishing any information regarding candidates or a political program.”

Judge Antosiewicz noted that “this press material constituted journalistic opinion, to which journalists are entitled” and did not contain any instructions on how to vote for or against a specific candidate. “Such opinions and information should be treated as part of the debate,” she added.

Confederation politiciansTVN

Moreover – in the court’s opinion – “the challenged statement did not contain false information” and the journalists were entitled to the wordings used. For example – as the judge said – the statement that “if more expensive treatment is needed, you will have to buy insurance” may result directly from the Confederation’s election program entitled “The Constitution of Freedom”.

“On page 112 of the electoral program it is written: ‘A specific, understandable package of guaranteed benefits that every insurer is obliged to provide. Widespread social awareness that benefits not covered by the guaranteed package require additional insurance or payment'” – quoted Judge Antosiewicz.

The Confederation announces an appeal

Friday’s decision of the District Court in Warsaw is invalid. Michał Wawer, representing the Confederation, announced that he would appeal.

Pursuant to the Electoral Code, the district court examines the application submitted in the electoral procedure within 24 hours. Within the next 24 hours, the parties have time to submit an appeal to the appellate court, which will hear it within 24 hours.

There is no cassation appeal against the decision of the court of second instance and it is subject to immediate execution. If the request is granted, the correction, response or apology will be published no later than within 48 hours, at the expense of the obligor. In the ruling, the court indicates the medium, within the meaning of press law, where the publication is to take place and the publication date.

Main photo source: Marcin Obara/PAP

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