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19.12.07 1544
The 7 - Current Events & Politics - No Free Speech in Poland?
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Stilton
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#1 Posted on 26.1.05 1048.35
Reposted on: 26.1.12 1048.35
A newspaper editor in Poland has been fined for saying something negative about the Pope (news.bbc.co.uk).

Congratulations, Poland! You've just joined the dark ages!


"In his article, titled Walking Sadomasochism, Mr Urban referred to the Pope's frailty, describing him as "the Brezhnev of the Vatican" and an "impotent old man".

"When published ahead of the Polish-born Pope's last visit to his homeland in August 2002 it provoked numerous complaints.

"The court has no doubts that intending to ridicule the church, Jerzy Urban ridiculed and derided the pope," the verdict said, according to the Associated Press."


So what? Sure, it's not a nice to thing to say about the Pope, but aren't public figures fair game for criticism, even if it is in bad taste? I mean, it's not like he beat down JR Oklahoma.
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Corajudo
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#2 Posted on 26.1.05 1258.56
Reposted on: 26.1.12 1259.01
From the article: A court in Warsaw found Jerzy Urban guilty of insulting a head of state by writing a satirical article on the eve of the pontiff's 2002 visit to Poland.

Sounds like Poland has a law against insulting heads of state. This writer broke the law, so he was punished. I don't agree with him, and I think he should have the right to publish his opinion, no matter how ignorant and ill-formed. But, obviously heads of state are not fair game for criticism in Poland. I'd be shocked if a 71 year old editor/writer did not know that. I think he did it for the cheap publicity and knew what the reaction would be.

Also from the article: In the early 1980s Mr Urban was spokesman for the last communist government of Poland, which cracked down on the Solidarity freedom movement.

I don't recall the Communist party that governed Poland at that time as being a bastion of free expression. Still, something tells me that someone satirizing about the Polish government in the early 1980s would have received a little harsher sentence than a fine.
PalpatineW
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#3 Posted on 26.1.05 1342.54
Reposted on: 26.1.12 1342.54

    Congratulations, Poland! You've just joined the dark ages!


1.) I think Poland knows a little bit about the dark ages, as Corajudo kindly points out.

2.) Can't you get fined for disagreeing with the government in France, too? (Why, yes, you can.)

3.) Is France, then, also in the dark ages?

4.) Or, alternatively, is this another example of your selective outrage directed only against things you already don't like, such as the Pope?

I agree that this kind of law is silly, but you're not lending yourself any credibility, here.
Stilton
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#4 Posted on 26.1.05 1440.22
Reposted on: 26.1.12 1440.29
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    . . . is this another example of your selective outrage directed only against things you already don't like, such as the Pope?

    I agree that this kind of law is silly, but you're not lending yourself any credibility, here.


Maybe you could explain to me how this issue is about my dislike for his holiness the Pope? I never said anything bad about the Pope. I even said the article was in poor taste.

Yes, Poland must have some law about insulting a head of state, but what constitutes an insult and what constitutes criticism, or even satire, is a boggy grey area at best. This is likely one of those laws that rarely gets dusted off unless it's politically advantageous for the current government. This is about popularity pure and simple. It would be no different if the state of New Jersey passed a law saying everyone has to love Springstein.

I worked in Poland as an ESL teacher in a high school about 5 years ago. The papers (and all the other media for that matter) were full of politcal back biting, but the Pope was the defacto benevolent philosopher king of the country. Yes, he's beloved. Yes, he's officially "infalliable". But I'm a little bewildered that a newspaperman could be fined for saying something negative about him.

It's not that I don't like Pope (though it's true I don't like him), it's just that I don't like the censorship.

Dumb laws abound everywhere. Hell, in Nebraska barbers are forbidden from eating onions between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. (legal-forms-kit.com), but I doubt anyone ever gets fined for it.
CRZ
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#5 Posted on 26.1.05 1501.19
Reposted on: 26.1.12 1501.50
Maybe.... maybe you should stick to Canada stuff. (I've probably said this before.)
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