European Federation of Journalists

Poland: newspaper plans to circulate homophobic stickers

Update: On 25 July, the District Court in Warsaw ordered to stop the distribution of the sticker ‘LGBT Free Zone’ attached to ‘Gazeta Polska’. The editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Tomasz Sakiewicz, called the court’s decision “fake news” and announced to refuse the withdrawal. Instead he warned shop owners via Twitter that anyone who “will hide the paper or the sticker, we will sue them.”

The Polish weekly Gazeta Polska announced on 17 July plans to distribute “LGBT-free zone” stickers to its readers in its next issue. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ/EFJ) strictly denounce an ‘irresponsible attitude” that violates fundamental principles of journalism ethics.

The stickers featuring a black cross over a rainbow flag alongside the slogan are due to be printed on 24 July.

The announcement has caused a public outcry in a country where hate speech against the LGBT-community is on the rise, particularly from the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), heavily supported by Gazeta Polska. Warsaw’s deputy major Pawel Rabiej has filed a complaint to the prosecutor’s office to block the distribution of the stickers.

The IFJ says Gazeta Polska’s stickers violate the IFJ Global Charter of Ethics for Journalists, which was adopted at IFJ World Congress in Tunis in June this year.

Article 9 of the Charter provides that “Journalists shall ensure that the dissemination of information or opinion does not contribute to hatred or prejudice and shall do their utmost to avoid facilitating the spread of discrimination”.

IFJ-EFJ’s affiliates in Poland the Society of Journalists and the Association of Journalists of the Republic of Poland (SDRP) have condemned Gazeta Polska‘s announcement.

SDRP International Secretary Tomasz Miłkowski said: “The publication of anti-LGBT stickers by Gazeta Polska goes against journalism ethics and risks alienating the editors from the journalists’ community. Such a conduct deserves condemnation because it brings our profession into disrepute. It violates the national law in a flagrant manner by promoting discrimination based on sexual orientations.

Credit photo: “LGBT free zone”, indicate the stickers. Gazeta Polska’s Twitter account