The head of the The National Broadcasting Council must address complaints about homophobic content


21 February 2024

The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed all six cassation complaints against the Provincial Administrative Court rulings, which found that the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) had been inactive by not addressing complaints from the Basta Foundation, which defends the rights of LGBT+ individuals.

The Basta Foundation monitors the media for hate speech directed against the LGBT+ community. We have filed numerous complaints with the National Broadcasting Council regarding broadcasts on TVP Info, TV Trwam, and Radio Maryja, which presented openly homophobic and transphobic content.

In our view, this violated Article 18 of the Broadcasting Act, which states that broadcasts or other messages “must not contain content that incites hatred or violence or discriminates based on (…) sexual orientation”.

However, Maciej Świrski, the Chairman of the KRRiT, did not initiate proceedings in these cases, merely informing the applicants in writing that he did not find any violations in any of the broadcasts. The main argument of the authority was that the Foundation could not be a party to the proceedings based on Article 18.

In December 2022, we filed a total of six complaints about the inactivity of the authority (case numbers: II GSK 1773/23, II GSK 1774/23, II GSK 1775/23, II GSK 2028/23, II GSK 2057/23). In June 2023, the Warsaw Provincial Administrative Court ruled in favor of the complainants in all cases, stating that the KRRiT Chairman should have dealt with these matters. However, the authority filed cassation appeals to the NSA, which on Tuesday upheld the Provincial Court’s position in all cases.

Initially, the court dismissed the claim based on Article 141 of the Law on Proceedings before Administrative Courts concerning the flawed justification of the Provincial Court’s rulings. However, according to the deciding panel, this provision only applies to the formal requirements of the justification, which were met. The NSA also deemed unfounded the claim that the provincial court did not indicate how the authority should proceed with the complaint. However, the Provincial Court could not do this, as such guidelines are only possible when the authority, in addressing the matter, incorrectly determined the factual situation – yet in this case, the matter was not even addressed. The KRRiT should therefore take actions specified by law.

The NSA also emphasized that it was not assessing the substantive examination of the case, which did not occur, but rather the mere formal response to the complaint, which should have resulted in initiating proceedings. The authority failed to do this. The KRRiT’s view that the Foundation could not file such a complaint was also unfounded. The court indicated that it could do so on its own behalf.

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