Wojewódzki Sąd Administracyjny

Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw important decision


31 May 2023
Court cases  I  

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw determined that the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) had been inactive regarding three complaints from our Foundation. We alerted that broadcasts on TVP and Radio Maryja were spreading hate speech against LGBT+ individuals, but KRRiT decided not to initiate proceedings on this matter.

In December 2022, we submitted complaints to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw against the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council concerning broadcasts that were alleged to propagate hate speech against the LGBT+ community. The broadcasts in question included: “#Jedziemy” on TVP Info channel from May 4, 2022, featuring guest commentator Jarosław Jakimowicz tearing a rainbow flag, “Aktualności dnia” on Radio Maryja from May 31, 2022, with Prof. Paweł Bortkiewicz describing the LGBT+ community as pathology, lies, and evil, and a broadcast from August 10, 2022, also on Radio Maryja, in which Deputy Minister of Justice Marcin Romanowski described regulations regarding child adoption by same-sex couples as institutionalized deviance.

In our applications to the Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council, we demanded the initiation of administrative proceedings against TVP and Radio Maryja for violating Article 18(1) of the Broadcasting Act. This article prohibits, among other things, the broadcast of programs promoting actions contrary to law and attitudes and views contrary to morality and social good, especially those containing content that incites hatred and violence or discriminates based on sexual orientation. It is the only provision in the Polish legal system protecting LGBT+ individuals from targeted hate speech.

The court agreed with the Basta Foundation

The Chairman of KRRiT did not consider our foundation’s applications, stating that it could not be a party in the proceedings concerning the violation of Article 18(1) of the Broadcasting Act. He merely responded in writing that he did not find any legal violations in any of the broadcasts. The court agreed with our foundation. Consequently, the organization complained to the Provincial Administrative Court, which confirmed that KRRiT’s practice was incorrect and that social organizations have the right to demand action against homophobia and transphobia. The court ruled that according to Article 31 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, social organizations may demand the initiation of administrative proceedings in cases of broadcasts containing homophobic content. The WSA obligated KRRiT to consider the Foundation’s applications within a month.

It is expected that KRRiT will issue decisions to refuse to initiate proceedings against TVP and Radio Maryja for publishing hateful content. In such a case, the Foundation will again take legal action. If KRRiT neglects this obligation, the Basta Foundation will once again go to court, demanding that the Chairman of KRRiT be fined – according to a statement from the Basta Foundation. The Basta Foundation continues its activities related to homophobia, transphobia, and other manifestations of hate speech in the media. Since March 2022, we have already submitted 15 applications to KRRiT and seven complaints about inactivity. In September, the 6-year term of the previous composition of the National Broadcasting Council ended with Witold Kołodziejski as chairman. The new composition of the National Council is headed by Maciej Świrski.

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