Poland’s press robust and free: US Ambassador

Hosted by Polish former FM and incumbent MEP of the Civic Coalition (KO), Radosław Sikorski on his Radio Free Europe show, the US diplomat to Poland Georgette Mosbacher said that she did not agree with Freedom House no longer regarding Poland as a full democracy and praised Poland’s press saying it was robust and free.

“I don’t agree with [Freedom House],” she stressed, adding that “Poland has a very free and a very robust press. So I didn’t agree with that assessment.”

Founded in October 1941, Freedom House is a US-based, US-gov’t-funded non-profit non-governmental organization (NGO) that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. The organisation's annual Freedom in the World report assesses each country's degree of political freedoms and civil liberties. Freedom of the Press and Freedom of the Net, which monitor censorship, intimidation and violence against journalists, and public access to information, are among its other signature reports.

Mr Sikorski congratulated Ambassador Mosbacher on her opinion and stance supportive of the pluralism of Polish media. Doing so, Mr Sikorski alluded to Ms Mosbacher’s late-April tweet that read “@FaktyTVN is part of the @Discovery family - a publicly traded US company listed on the NY Stock Exchange, committed to transparency, freedom of speech, and independent, responsible journalism. To suggest otherwise is simply false.”

The US diplomat responded to the former FM saying that “whether [the media was] American-owned or not, I will always stand up for freedom of speech and I have always said ‘that includes beating me up’. Meaning, I don’t like what you said but I will definitely defend your right to say it because there cannot be any limits and it is the cornerstone of democracy.”

Mr Sikorski asked what would be the US response if a hypothetical law in a regulatory guise eliminating private media would be passed in Poland. The ambassador answered that “Poland has real support in the Congress of the US but the one thing both Republicans and Democrats agree on [is] freedom of the press. It would do serious damage with that good will on the hill should anything like that happen in Poland.”

Feeling safe in Poland

The US Ambassador also shared her belief with the MEP that “Poland is safe. I feel safe here. I’ve been here since the lockdown.” Moreover, Ms Mosbacher praised President Andrzej Duda saying that “President Duda took very decisive action and showed real leadership and closed down the country and put in measures that will serve us well as we come out of it.”

Extending her condolences to all the victims of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in Poland, Ms Mosbacher said: “my heart really goes out to all those who lost their loved ones.”