Polish court order violates freedom of opinion, free press, says German court
PR dla Zagranicy
A Polish court order cannot be carried out in Germany because it would be a "clear violation of basic freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press," the Federal Court of Justice of Germany said in a statement published on Tuesday.
A picture of the main gate to the German Nazi Auschwitz death camp, made with some of the names of the Holocaust victims who died there. Image: Dzeni/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The German court referred to the legal case of Karol Tendera, a Polish Auschwitz survivor who contested German television station ZDF's 2013 use of the term "Polish death camps" in promoting a documentary about the Auschwitz and Majdanek concentration camps.
The camps were run during WWII by German Nazi's in occupied Polish territory.
In April 2016, a court in Kraków found that ZDF had damaged Tendera's dignity and national identity and ordered the broadcaster to publish on its website a specifically phrased apology.
But the German court of justice said the apology could not be published by ZDF as its own opinion, adding that the broadcaster had already retracted the error and apologised for the mistake.
Tendera's lawyer Lech Obara said the German court's decision was "unprecedented and completely incomprehensible".
A court in Kraków in the past said that an apology previously published on the broadcaster's website did not meet a requirement that the message be visible on ZDF's homepage for 30 days.
The use of the term "Polish concentration camp” by international media outlets has sparked numerous complaints from Poland in recent years, prompting some news agencies to change their style guidelines.
In 2007, following a Polish request, the World Heritage Committee attempted to clarify the matter by listing the Auschwitz camp as a "German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp". (vb)