Skip to main content

Poland: police raid blog over president 'slander'

Polish law enforcement agents have raided the home and shut down the site of a blogger accused of "slander" against the country's president, Bronislaw Komorowski.

Officers from Poland's purportedly counter-terrorist 'internal security agency', the ABW, last week seized a laptop and hard disks from Robert Frycz's home, after his site - - published photographs and articles mocking the president, and included games in which users could throw virtual objects such as a hammer or excrement at a picture of the politician.

A message posted at the former site's address thanks well-wishers for nearly 1,000 messages of support, but says the site will not be reinstated - and nor would its domain name, which refers to President Komorowski - be for sale. Defending the site's record, the message reads:

" was not defamatory, and did not contain false information, but only that which appeared on publicly available portals and blogs... Preventive censorship and licensing of the press are the characteristic methods used to control the media in an authoritarian system."

The move comes after a number of football fans were fined for a chant calling the country's prime minister, Donald Tusk, a "moron" - raising concerns that free speech is under threat from decades-old laws that prevent insults from being directed at Poland's senior politicians, dating from the country's communist past.

According to a report on the Wall Street Journal's Emerging Europe blog, a top aide for Tusk and Komorowski "reacted with astonishment" to news of the raid on the blogger's home, and said that the law concerned would need to be changed.

But Polish justice minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski said that the government would wait for a ruling on the matter by a constitutional court, due in June. The case is the result of a petition by a local court which in 2009 found former president and Solidarity leader, Lech Walesa, not guilty of slander after he said of his successor, late president Lech Kaczynski: "We have a dolt for a president."