Poland probes 'libel' in German article

21st July 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2006, WARSAW - Polish Justice officials on Friday opened a formal investigation into whether a satirical article published last month by the left-wing German Die Tageszeitung daily libelled Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, an offence prohibited under Polish law.

21 July 2006

WARSAW - Polish Justice officials on Friday opened a formal investigation into whether a satirical article published last month by the left-wing German Die Tageszeitung daily libelled Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, an offence prohibited under Polish law.

The satirical article by columnist Peter Koehler titled "The young Polish potato. The villains who want to rule the world," prompted a sharp official reaction from Poland, including a request that Germany's government criticise the publication.

This move was in turn viewed by critics as an attack on freedom of the press.

There was also intense speculation in the Polish press as to whether the offence caused by the article may have been a cause behind President Lech Kaczynski's sudden cancellation of a visit to Germany for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac.

A senior Die Tageszeitung editor said it was difficult to understand Poland's decision to launch a formal investigation into whether the satirical article constituted libel against the president.

The article poked fun at President Kaczynski, his identical twin brother Jaroslaw and their mother.

The leader of the governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski was formally inaugurated as Poland's prime minister this week, making the brothers the first ever identical siblings simultaneously hold the offices of president and prime minister.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article