Sunday, 22 May 2011

In praise of free speech.

Six o'clock in the morning. Functionaries of Internal Security Agency break down the door and trespass onto a flat inhabited by 25-year-old chap. Are we back in 2006 or 2007 when various people were arrested in the spotlight (some of them have never been proven guilty and acquited)? No, we are in luminuous times when enlighted Civic Platform is in power and civic freedoms are thriving. This statement was borne out on Tuesday when a guy who ran antykomor.pl site had his computer forfeited by secret services, just because he had run a website on which he had ridiculed president Komorowski.

From 2005 several websites were set up with just one goal - to make laugh of late president Kaczynski and his brother who wielded power as prime minister. Politicians of PiS and believers of the sturdy party expressed their outrage at the fact ordinary people wanted to make fun of clunky twins. Usually the key explanation was that all those people couldn't do it off their own bat and must have been inspired by an overarching, invisible force, called the System.

Times have changed. Since the Smolensk disaster it is no longer passe to admit to support Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his party. A group of people who declare they used to be drowned out for years can easily have their say. Antykomor was created in that time, in the surge of anti-PO movement. He did what many people had done during president Kaczynski's term. Let's face it - the current and the previous president have both been mediocre and no wonder such websites spring up. It is quite natural in the civic society, in which people have to have a right to give vent to their emotions.



I first heard about the site after its closure, so google cache memory was my only source of information on the content of antykomor.pl. I have to say I didn't find anything what would justify stepping into Antykomor's author's flat early in the morning, maybe except one photomontage on which the president appears to be compelling a drunk girl to do him a blow job.

This one was below the belt, but the guy should be wise enough to know there are boundaries that must not be overstepped. This still doesn't justify the forfeiture of computer, he could only be requested to delete offensive content and materials he hadn't had copyrights to.

Officiousness is worse than fascism. After the hapless action PiS scores another point and PO slides down on a slippery slope it has been for months of its feckless rule. Who the hell hatched the idea of detaining author of such website? It is absolutely normal in mature democracies that some people are dissatisfied with the politicians in charge of their countries and ridicule them. Think about all mockery at Nicholas Sarkozy, George W. Bush or Barack Obama. I think the article 135, paragraph 2 of Polish penal code which defines punishment for insulting the president (up to 3 years of imprisonment) should be overruled. Why should a president enjoy any special protection? He indeed is a symbol and deserves respect, but other people also deserve respect. So what's the difference between liability for insulting a president and insulting a prime minister. Should only the former be punished? Wasn't the legislator a bit ticklish? Isn't the situation in Poland ludicrous - people who accuse state officials of high treason and felonies go unpunished and the guy who pokes fun at president's numerous missteps has to play host to Internal Security Agents?

I was okay with making fun of president Kaczynski and I am okay with ridiculing president Komorowski (he gives us ample reasons for doing so) and I will be okay if any other president is mocked at, of course within reason, what means with offensive remarks, insults and lies. I was counting down days till the end of Lech Kaczynski's presidency, so why not do same with Komorowski?

3 comments:

scatts said...

"to make laugh of late president Kaczynski"

Very Borat, but I like it.

student SGH said...

I haven't watched Borat, but I can imagine the way he mangled English.

Don't you like the new phrase which hereby has just come into existence?

student SGH said...

Oh, apologies, you wrote that you liked it.