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Polish man goes on trial for defaming the Polish president

jonni 16 | 2475  
28 Oct 2008 /  #1
I found this today:

Polish man goes on trial for 'defaming' president
A man has gone on trial in Poland charged with defaming the president after he allegedly linked the presidential website to internet searches for a vulgar term relating to the male anatomy.

The accused, known only as Marek M for legal reasons, from the southern Polish town of Cieszyna faces three years in jail if found guilty of insulting the head of state, which is a criminal offense in Poland.

Local police stated that they managed to track him down because he was using his home computer and made no attempt to disguise the location.
Prosecutors allege that the suspect had managed, by using his own software, to position the website of President Lech Kaczynski in the list of results to web searches for a synonym for the male genitalia.

Full story here

This seems like a real lack of free speech. After all, in UK, US, Germany, France etc, if you don't like the leader, you can shout it from the rooftops, but here. Sometimes it seems like one step forward, two steps back.
loco polaco 3 | 352  
28 Oct 2008 /  #2
don't know of any western country where libel is not a good cause for a lawsuit but never heard of prison sentece for it although it is kind of understandable if it is against a political figure.

free speech is only free when it's not used to slander or libel someone. if either of those is true, one may have to pay for their speech.
28 Oct 2008 /  #3
Jonni I haven't voted on KAczyƄski but our pro european Jonni wait for 90% of energy cost ... our western friends need our money. Be prepared 90% increase for electric power.
OP jonni 16 | 2475  
28 Oct 2008 /  #4
Of course that's true, and some countries (inc. UK) have the concept of Criminal Libel, which can theoretically send someone to jail, though is never used, and despite it's name is a civil offence, not a criminal one.

There are however very strict criteria about libel, and the question is whether politicians should have more rights than most in the matter and are legally immune to satire.

Imagine if the creators of 'Spitting Image' in the UK or 'Saturday Night Live' in the US ended in in a criminal court for satirising their leaders!

And DCB, what have energy costs got to do with this thread?
polishcanuck 7 | 461  
28 Oct 2008 /  #5
I'm surprised more people haven't been charged for defaming the kaczka.
loco polaco 3 | 352  
28 Oct 2008 /  #6
he/they do it fine themselves. lol


right you are but spitting image or SNL are satirical shows thus "immune" from suites but this guys wrote this defamatory stuff on a website which is basically the same as a news paper in the eyes of the courts. so he has to deal with the consequences.

personally, i think all politicians should be ready to be for critisims of the highest level as they are in public view and are supposed to serve us. when they don't then they themselves have to deal with our feelings towards them. what's fair is rair, no?
OP jonni 16 | 2475  
28 Oct 2008 /  #7
What the guy actually did was to manipulate search engine rankings so when someone searched the word 'chuj' one of the top entries was the Polish president's website.

Not unlike that computer virus back in the eighties which got into wordprocessors and replaced the phrase 'Margaret Thatcher with 'The B1tch'.

Hat's off to whoever wrote those programmes, annoying though they are.

So what should we be able to say about a president and what shouldn't we be able to say?

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