Radosław Sikorski – No more to chatroom smears and slander!
“As the head of Polish diplomacy, it is my duty to safeguard my country’s image abroad. The racism, aggression and hate spouted in Polish internet chatrooms is beyond belief. People can read these comments anywhere in the world and form their opinion of Poland.” – explains Minister Sikorski in today’s Gazeta Wyborcza. Sikorski is seeking 20,000 PLN in damages and an official apology published on the websites in question.
The grounds for the lawsuit are that the relevant entries were not removed by administrators, despite their illegal and offensive content, and even though the chatrooms’ own codes of conduct describe such entries as unacceptable and state administrators may remove them.
In December last year the Minister sent a letter to Attorney General Andrzej Seremet, in which he cited comments from internet chatrooms and called for an end to leniency towards racist and anti-Semitic hate speech. At the Minister’s request, the letter was treated as a notification of a criminal offense, and Sikorski appeared before the Warsaw District Prosecutor on the matter last Friday. The Minister also brought civil cases against the publishers of Fakt and Puls Biznesu for the slanderous, mendacious, racist and anti-Semitic entries on their online chatrooms.
“My aim is to induce the owners of the sites to comply with the law and their own regulations. On top of removing the offending entries, this can be achieved by changing registration procedures on internet forums, for example by requiring users to provide a verifiable telephone number or other data that prevent anonymity from the administrator. I’m convinced their sense of anonymity goes a long way to encouraging users’ loutish behaviour on internet chatrooms.” – says Minister Sikorski.