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German broadcaster refuses to apologise for ‘Polish death camp’ reference: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 25.07.2017 11:22
German public broadcaster ZDF has launched an appeal against a court order to apologise on its homepage to an Auschwitz survivor for use of the phrase “Polish death camp”, according to a report.
The main gate of the Auschwitz German Nazi camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution 2.5The main gate of the Auschwitz German Nazi camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

Polish public broadcaster TVP Info reported on its website that ZDF is arguing that courts in Poland are not independent.

At the beginning of February a court in Mainz, Germany, issued a decision obliging ZDF to publish an apology on its home page, according to TVP Info.

A court in Kraków, Poland, earlier ruled 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 German broadcaster has now argued in its appeal that Poland’s conservative government, formed in late 2015, has an active policy aimed at protecting the good name of the Polish state and Poles, a policy which includes legal as well as diplomatic moves, according to TVP Info.

According to ZDF, the Polish government wants such a policy to be implemented by Polish courts, TVP Info said.

Auschwitz survivor Karol Tendera launched legal action over the promotion of a ZDF documentary about the liberation of Majdanek and Auschwitz, WWII German Nazi death camps located in occupied Poland.

In the promotional material on the zdf.de website, the expression “Polish death camps” was used. The description was changed after Polish authorities protested.

In April 2016, a Kraków district court found that ZDF had damaged Tendera's dignity and national identity by referring to WWII German Nazi concentration camps Majdanek and Auschwitz as “Polish death camps”.

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". (pk)

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