We write to record our objection to the campaign recently conducted by the Polish Embassy in Vienna against Martin Pollack, an experienced and respected Austrian journalist and writer.
Polish embassy officials in Vienna have written to „Der Standard”, the Austrian news paper which carries MrPollack’s articles on Poland, asking it to publish a text by a Polish author approved by your ministry which is designed to rebut MrPollack’s views. Our Austrian colleague has also been banned from organising events at the Polish cultural institute in Vienna. We are concerned that Mr Pollack may also have been black-listed from events at other Polish embassies.
These actions appear to be designed to pressure Mr Pollack to report developments in Poland in such a way as to reflect the views of the Polish government and the Law and Justice ruling party.
Mr Pollack knows Poland well. He has written books and translated Polish authors into German, and reported on the country before 1989 when he was banned from coming to Poland as a result of his reporting. Now he has become the target of a hostile campaign for articles which he has written about the situation in the country under the new Polish government. The irony of the situation is clear.
The actions of your embassy in Vienna infringe the spirit of media freedom and suggest that criticism voiced in Poland and abroad of the current government’s policy towards the Polish media is well founded.
We urge you to instruct your officials to drop this campaign against Martin Pollack forthwith, as it demeans your country and places you and your ministry in a very negative light.
Otmar Lahodynsky, AEJ-President
William Horsley, AEJ-Vice-President and Media Freedom Representative
Krzysztof Bobinski, AEJ-Poland