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Polish journalists dismissed over report on plane crash

(IFJ/IFEX) - 9 November 2012 - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today criticised the decision to sack the editor-in-chief of the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita along with three journalists over a report on the plane crash that killed former President Lech Kaczynski in April 2010.

Tomasz Wróblewski, the paper's editor-in-chief, his deputy, Bartosz Marczuk, journalist Cezary Gmyz, who wrote the article, and internal affairs editor Mariusz Staniszewski lost their jobs on Tuesday, 6 November, on the decision by the supervisory board and the publisher of Rzeczpospolita, Presspublica, which belongs to Mr. Grzegorz Hajdarowicz.

The article, entitled "Trotyl in the wreckage of the Tupolev", triggered a political row when it said traces of TNT and nitro-glycerin had been found on the wings and in the cabin of the jet of former Polish President Lech Kaczynski, which crashed in Smolensk, Russia, two years ago, killing the President and 95 members of his delegation.

"Dismissing some of the most senior and experienced journalists of a respected daily newspaper in Poland due to their investigative journalism is a scandal," said EFJ President Arne König. "This shows that the Polish government is not respecting the independence of media when it forces publishers to show undue consideration for the government and its interest. We support our affiliate, the Polish Journalists Association (SDP) in its protests against these politically-driven dismissals."

In a statement, the SDP also condemned the decision, saying, "We consider the action taken by the Supervisory Board of the owner of Presspublica Publishing House against Mr. Cezary Gmyz as a violation of the principles which regulate relations with investigative journalists in free and independent media. We find the attempts to make the author disclose his sources and details of the investigation unacceptable."

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