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February 27, 2020 - Updated on March 2, 2020

Poland : journalist investigated for coverage of Gdansk mayor’s assassination

Katarzyna Wlodkowska / DR
The decision to open a criminal investigation into journalist Katarzyna Wlodkowska’s reporting on last year’s assassination of Gdansk’s mayor constitutes an escalation in the Polish judicial system’s intimidation of independent media and journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.

As a result of the investigation opened this month by the Gdansk prosecutor’s office, Wlodkowska is facing the possibility of up to two years in prison under article 241 of the Polish criminal code for allegedly divulging confidential information about the judicial investigation into Mayor Pawel Adamowicz’s murder in January 2019. Articles by Wlodkowska published last month by Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s leading independent daily, and its supplement, Duzy Format Magazine, exposed many gaps in the murder investigation being conducted by the Gdansk prosecutor’s office.

                     

On the basis of anonymous interviews and sources close to the police and to the accused murderer, Wlodkowska reported that he premeditated and planned the assassination with great care but the prosecutor’s office had not conducted a thorough investigation into his motives.

  

The use of criminal law to silence journalists and independent media that disturb the authorities must stop, RSF editor-in-chief Pauline Adès-Mével said. We support Katarzyna Wlodkowska and the other journalists affected by a judicial investigation and we urge the Polish justice system to drop these proceedings.

 

Poland is ranked 59th in RSF's latest  World Press Freedom Index, after falling every year since 2015.