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Polish national interest key as TV exposé probed: PM aide

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 27.11.2018 14:50
Polish law enforcement authorities are being guided exclusively by the national interest as they probe a disputed TV exposé, a top aide to the country's prime minister said on Tuesday.

Michał Dworczyk, head of the Prime Minister's Office, was responding to a question after a weekly reported that the US ambassador in Warsaw had voiced criticism of an ongoing investigation affecting American-owned private Polish television broadcaster TVN.

The broadcaster in January aired footage that appeared to show a group of neo-Nazis meeting in a forest in southern Poland and glorifying fascism while celebrating the anniversary of Hitler's birth.

TVN said at the time that the footage was a result of its investigation into nationalist groups in Poland and included recordings of the Pride and Modernity organisation’s celebrations of Adolf Hitler’s birth anniversary in May 2017.

The revelations caused outrage and condemnation in Poland, a country that suffered massive damage after being invaded by Nazi Germany in World War II.

The alleged celebrations filmed by TVN featured Nazi German flags, an altar to the Nazi German leader, and the “Sieg Heil” Hitler salute.

Both the ruling conservatives and Polish opposition called for the Pride and Modernity organisation to be delegalised.

Staged event?

But conservative news website wpolityce.pl suggested this month that the infamous celebration was a staged event and “a sham for which its organiser was paid PLN 20,000” [EUR 4,500, USD 5,300].

Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for Poland's security services chief, said on November 8 that testimony by a man detained in the probe contained a claim that the event dubbed by the media “the Hitler birthday party” was staged after it was “commissioned” by people unknown to him.

Justice Minister and Prosecutor-General Zbigniew Ziobro told reporters that same day that prosecutors were probing whether someone had paid for the “Hitler birthday party” to be held, and that they were also investigating how a TVN journalist had been invited to the event.

Meanwhile, broadcaster TVN denied paying money to the man detained in the probe “or anyone who participated in organising the Adolf Hitler birthday party."

The broadcaster, which is controlled by US company Discovery, suggested the detained man was lying. It also said it was considering taking legal steps against anyone defaming the station.

'No letters or statements' can 'affect decisions'

According to conservative weekly Do Rzeczy, the US ambassador to Poland, Georgette Mosbacher, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in which she was critical of the investigation.

"The Polish government and Prime Minister Morawiecki are guided solely by the interest of the Polish state," Dworczyk told public broadcaster Polish Radio on Tuesday when asked about the weekly's report.

"Any activities and decisions that are being undertaken stem exclusively from Poland’s national interests,” he said.

“No letters or statements affect these decisions," he added.

Dworczyk did not confirm that Mosbacher had sent a letter to Morawiecki criticising the probe into the TVN exposé, the public broadcaster’s IAR news agency reported.

'Nazi salute'

Meanwhile, TVN said in a statement on Saturday that “the authors of the report acted in accordance with the standards of investigative journalism.”

The broadcaster also protested after it said a camera operator was on Friday visited at home by agents with Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) and called for questioning amid allegations of spreading Nazi propaganda, the niezalezna.pl website has reported.

The cameraman, Piotr Wacowski, “was caught in photographs against the backdrop of Nazi symbols and performing a Nazi salute” when shooting the footage last year, according to niezalezna.pl.


Source: IAR, niezalezna.pl

tags: TVN
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