Defaming the Polish People

Via Of Laws and Men, I have come late to the following story from Roy Greenslade:

El Pais, via its siteThe Spanish newspaper El País and a writer, Pilar Rahola, are facing legal action in Poland for “defaming the Polish people.” The authorities were outraged by an article by Rahola, published in March, which claimed that Polish democracy was suffering from the political influence of the Catholic Church, official homophobia and widespread racism. Juan Luis Cebrián, the chief of the group that owns El País, described the lawsuit as an “utterly bizarre and unreal initiative.” (Via Reporters without Borders)

Background: Pilar Rahola (personal website | wikipedia), a former Spanish MP, political activist and author, is quite a colourful character all round; her original article “Polonia y el surrealismo” is here (I think – it’s in Spanish, which I don’t read; but the date is right, and the title is suggestive, even to me); there is a reaction to it here; the Reporters without Borders article is here; and there is another reaction to the Polish prosecution here.

Given that it was my view that any attempt to prosecute former Polish President Lech Walesa for insulting his current successor could not survive challenge in the European Court of Human Rights on foot of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, it will not come as a suprise that I don’t think that any prosecution of Rahola could either. After all, to take only one example from its caselaw – and an example, at that, with which she is doubtless familiar – that Court has already ruled (in Castells v Spain [1992] ECHR 48 (23 April 1992)) that a prosecution for proffering serious insults against the Spanish Government infringed Article 10.

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