Polish Minister for Equal Treatment sends censorship requests to organisations and media

Following reports that the European Commission disagreed with her interpretation of EU law, Polish Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment Elżbieta Radziszewska formally requested that Polish media and non-governmental organisations take down articles reporting on this disagreement.

The Polish Minister previously argued that EU law allowed Catholic schools to discriminate against teachers on the basis of their sexual orientation. Following a request for clarification by Michael Cashman MEP, the European Commission explained that it ‘fails to see how a teacher’s sexual orientation could reasonably constitute a genuine and determining occupational requirement’, in disagreement with Mrs Radziszewska’s views.

On the 29th October, the office of Mrs Radziszewska sent out requests for correction to entities reporting on this disagreement, including national newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, national organisation Campaign Against Homophobia, and the editors of two Polish websites (download the letter: PL, EN).

Elżbieta Radziszewska

Elżbieta Radziszewska (Credit: PAP)

In her letter, the Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment argues: “It is incorrect to claim that ‘The Minister is wrong’, which is written in the article ‘Radziszewska is wrong says the European Commission’.” The letter formally requests that the articles be withdrawn.

Michael Cashman, Ulrike Lunacek and Raül Romeva MEPs responded to the censorship threats in an open letter.

Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, reacted: “It’s not the role of the Minister to interpret EU law in compliance with her faith. She must acknowledge that she was wrong on this occasion—and that the Commission, EU law, and EU jurisprudence all disagree with her.”

Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, continued: “A free media featuring divergent views is a cornerstone of democracy, as much as freedom to receive and impart information is a fundamental right protected throughout the EU. Attempts to intimidate or censor the media and civil rights organisations are worrying, and unworthy of any member of government in a democratic society.”

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