Poland marks 25 years since lifting of censorship
PR dla Zagranicy
On 11 April 1990 a parliamentary bill disbanded the Central Office for the Control of the Press, Publications and Spectacles, one of the most powerful authorities in communist Poland.
Daily newspaper of Wrocław, People's Republic of Poland, 20-21 March 1981, with censor intervention on first and last pages.The right-hand page also includes a hand-written confirmation of that decision by the local "Solidarność" Trade Union. Photo: cc/wikimedia/user Julo
With the closure of the office came the end of censorship in Poland. Up until then, all forms of public communication were controlled, including press announcements such as obituaries, as well as posters.
“In the Polish People’s Republic there was an Orwellian ‘two-track’ system: the Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech, but in fact there was a system of total, preventative and repressive censorship,” head of the National Broadcasting Council Jan Dworak told Polish Radio.
Any fact or piece of information reaching public opinion would first have to be scanned by the censors, Dworak informed, although added that there were other offices which dealt with radio jamming and the screening of private correspondence.
A square in Warsaw by Mysia street, which used to house the Central Office for the Control of the Press, Publications and Spectacles, has been named the ‘Square of Free Speech’ to commemorate the censors under communism. (jb)