Broadcasting Act

Zakaz cenzury prewencyjnej w świetle zasady wolności słowa

Author: Lech Jaworski
Institution: Uniwersytet Warszawski
Year of publication: 2014
Source: Show
Pages: 143-164
DOI Address:
PDF: tpn/6/TPN2014109.pdf

Censorship is a special case of media control. In the authoritarian system it is preventive censorship as well as press licensing that constitute a characteristic symptom of this control. In law, the notion of censorship has not been defined: therefore one has to refer to doctrines and jurisdiction. In the Polish law, a clear ban on preventive censorship, understood as making publishing or broadcasting a certain message dependent on the prior consent of a public authority, was included in Article 54 Section 2 of the Constitution. This regulation constitutes, in the area that it regulates, a development and confirmation of the freedom of the press and other media rule expressed in Article 14 of the Constitution. Additional provisions of the press’s freedom of speech in the context discussed here are formulated in Article 3 of the Press Law. Although it does not refer directly to preventive censorship, the ban it expresses is supposed to prevent the actual infringement on the freedom of the press by preventing its print and distribution. As for the issues discussed here, what may be controversial is the approach limiting the introduction of preventive censorship only to public administration institutions. The Constitutional Tribunal in its verdict from 20 July 2011, referring to the use of publication ban within proceedings to secure claims in claims against mass media concerning the protection of personal rights (Article 755 Paragraph 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure) stated that the judicial power is not the administrative power. Therefore, the courts’ activity cannot be considered as using censorship, but rather as monitoring the law being obeyed in the preventive meaning. And as for the regulations included in the European Convention on Human Rights, its Article 10 (as well as its other regulations) does not directly refer to the issue of controlling or obstructing publications, especially press releases. This question, however, has been the subject of many rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.

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