Polish Court Prohibits Justice Minister from Defaming Film Director Agnieszka Holland
Director Holland Takes Legal Action
The District Court in Warsaw, Poland, has issued an order for security, following a case of personal rights protection claims brought by renowned Polish film director, Agnieszka Holland. This development comes after Holland’s legal representatives called on Zbigniew Ziobro, the Minister of Justice, to extend a public apology and donate 50,000 PLN to a foundation. The court’s ruling stated that Ziobro cannot comment on Holland and her work, specifically in relation to her film “Zielona granica”, until the final conclusion of the proceedings.
Minister’s Defamatory Comments Stir Controversy
This court decision was prompted by a situation where Ziobro compared Holland’s work to filmmakers of the Third Reich. Holland’s legal team argues that such comments violate her personal rights and constitute defamation. In reaction, they demanded a public apology from Ziobro and a donation to the Association of “Holocaust Children”. They warned that failure to meet these demands would lead to legal action. Holland added that such an open and brutal attack from an individual holding a significant constitutional role in Poland was unacceptable.
Justice Minister Responds
Ziobro referred to the case in late September, questioning why Holland’s lawyers were delaying the filing of a lawsuit against his comments. He suggested they may have discovered that a partner in the film production was the German public television ZDF, which had previously produced controversial content.
Holland has responded to Ziobro’s comments, asserting that comparing her to war criminals and Putin is laughable. She argues that the actions taken against her and her film by Polish authorities are unprecedented, reminiscent of the anti-Semitic, anti-student, and anti-intellectual campaign of 1968. Holland also noted Ziobro’s statement that he would not apologize even if ordered by a court, as he only recognizes the “final court”. She responded that if such a final court exists, she fears Ziobro would fare poorly under its judgement.
Implications of the Legal Battle
This legal battle between Holland and Ziobro sheds light on the tensions between the Polish government and the arts sector, especially when the content challenges the government’s narrative or stance on certain issues. It also raises questions about the extent of freedom of speech and expression in the country, especially when it comes to critical portrayals of the government’s actions. The court’s ruling in favor of Holland could set a precedent for similar cases in the future, potentially influencing the way politicians engage with and comment on the work of artists in Poland.
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