Poland protests German media interference in presidential elections

Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk protested to the German Chargé d' Affaires, on Wednesday, against what he described as the German media's attempts to influence Poland's ongoing presidential elections.

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The deputy minister's words referred to recent publications in Germany's Die Welt newspaper, whose author wrote that presidential hopeful Rafał Trzaskowski would be a better choice than incumbent President Andrzej Duda, because Mr Trzaskowski was against Poland's demands for WWII reparations from Germany.

President Duda and Mr Trzaskowski face a July 12 run-off election round after a June 28 vote failed to elect a decisive winner in the presidential elections.

Mr Szynkowski vel Sęk told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that during his talk with the German chargé d’affaires he had accused the German media of spreading lies and manipulated facts about the Polish elections, which had given rise to suspicions that their aim was to "influence the democratic election process in Poland."

“I have told the chargé d'affaires that the series of articles in German[-owned] media using manipulation and lies, media that evoke suspicions that their goal is to influence the democratic election process in Poland has raised our firm opposition…,” the Deputy FM tweeted on Wednesday.

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He added that he made it clear to the German side that the Polish Foreign Ministry held such publications as “unacceptable” from the Polish standpoint, and stressed that using lies and manipulated information exceeded the boundaries of media freedom.

The official also tweeted that “the destructive influence of such articles on Polish-German relations should be a point of common concern.”

Mr Szynkowski vel Sęk’s actions come in the wake of President Andrzej Duda’s accusation that the German media were interfering in the ongoing presidential election. At Friday’s rally in Bolesławiec President Duda attacked the German-owned “Fakt” tabloid for its highly critical front page on the pardon which the President issued. He called the publication a “slanderous attack” and added: “Germans want to choose who is to be President in Poland? That is shameful.”

The President also attacked “Die Welt” for its Warsaw correspondent’s claim that Rafał Trzaskowski would be a better President from a German point of view because he opposes Poland attempting to extract war reparations from Germany. He linked this to the dispute with “Fakt” which he called another “front in the German attack” on him. The President accused the paper of not only attacking him but the family which he had helped.

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