Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do Germans Deserve Free Speech? Can They Handle Free Speech? Twitter Censorship

Norman Rockwell
As an American, I enjoy, and strongly support, freedom of speech. I love this counterintuitive quote from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in the style of Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Previously on this blog, I talked about NPR's firing, and demonization, of commentator Juan Williams, after Williams admitted that he gets nervous when he sees passengers in Muslim garb on airplanes. In that blog entry, I argued that even those criticized benefit from the freedom of speech that makes criticism possible. That blog entry is here.

I was shocked when I first learned that many countries in Western Europe don't enjoy freedom of speech. That gave me a bad feeling. Was Germany still so prone to Nazism that it couldn't allow what I guessed was a small minority to express their Nazism?

I find it really weird and sad that England, where human rights took so many historic, celebrated giant steps, like the thirteenth-century Magna Carta, bars Michael Savage from entry – on the basis of Savage's criticism of Islam.

From Wikipedia

Of the banning of Michael Savage from entry into England, "the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wrote: 'America still has a constitutional protection of free speech, and I have been amazed... to see how few people in England are willing to stick up for that elementary principle... a country once famous for free speech is now hysterically and expensively sensitive to anything that could be taken as a slight.' In The Guardian, Catherine Bennett wrote: 'The ban on Savage is so far from being a comprehensible act, so staggeringly capricious and stupid, as to defy evaluation.' While Sam Leith wrote: 'Barring this shock-jock from Britain risks turning a rabid blabbermouth into a beacon for free speech.'"

Oh, England. How sad for you that you have come to this.

And how about Germany, and Germans? Are they ready for free speech? Can they handle it? If not now, when?

The fear of those who institute bans on free speech seems to be that if bad ideas are allowed to be discussed openly, they will be so attractive that they will overpower good ideas.

Is that right? Isn't Nazism such a very bad idea that if it competes in the free marketplace of ideas, it will lose?

Or not? And, if not, why not?

Also, doesn't banning open discussion of some ideas make them immediately more attractive to some? Doesn't banning open discussion of some ideas protect those ideas from serious scrutiny? If you can't talk about an idea, you can't talk about how bad it is.

By the way, when I was in a hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, recently, I attempted to access this blog. Initially, I could not. I received a message saying, "Access Denied. This page uses the word 'Sieg Heil.'" Those words do appear on the blog, but not in a laudatory way. I do not recommend that people greet each other using the words "Sieg Heil." The hotel computer's blocking of this blog demonstrates the clumsiness of internet censorship.

I did, though, find a way to get around that firewall. I posted the update from Madison from that very hotel computer that at first wanted to deny me access to my own blog.

A recent controversy over Twitter was covered in the New York Times. Below, excerpts from the Times article.

October 18, 2012
Twitter Blocks Germans' Access to Neo-Nazi Group

BERLIN — Twitter waded into potentially perilous territory on Thursday when it blocked users in Germany from access to the account of a neo-Nazi group that is banned by the government here.

The move was the first time that Twitter acted on a policy known as "country-withheld content," announced in January, in which it will block an account at the request of a government. But the company cracked open the gates to a complex new era in which it will increasingly have to referee legal challenges to the deluge of posts that has made the site so popular.

The company said the goal was to balance freedom of expression with compliance with local laws. "Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly & transparently," Alexander Macgillivray, the company's chief lawyer, wrote on Twitter.

A German spokesman for the company confirmed in an e-mail that it was the first time the policy had been used, although Twitter does not as a matter of policy announce government requests to block an account. In a "transparency report" issued earlier this year, the company said it had received six such requests but had not, for reasons it did not specify, acted upon them.

Uwe Schünemann, the interior minister for the state of Lower Saxony, where the neo-Nazi group is based, applauded the decision to block the Twitter feed, calling it in a statement "an important step."

Twitter neither shut down the group's account nor deleted the group's posts. It blocked them for users only in Germany, who see a message that reads "Blocked" and "This account has been withheld in Germany," along with a link to more information about the policy.

The decision to block the German feed was a relatively easy one, given that the group is banned and that the use of Nazi symbols and slogans can be criminally prosecuted. The more difficult question is how broadly and under what rules the policy will be applied by a company with users around the world.

Twitter employees are not combing through the hundreds of millions of messages posted each day searching for offensive material, but are responding only to government requests, beholden to free-expression laws in the countries in which it operates. That makes the company potentially subject to manipulation by authoritarian governments, rights advocates say.

"Where it really will be dangerous is in repressive regimes where Twitter is a very important means of communication between political dissenters, and where laws are interpreted by people who would interpret them in a politically biased fashion," said Svetlana Mintcheva, the director of programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship in New York. "What, for instance, if the president of Belarus decides to suppress the tweets of a theater company which is critical of him?"

Authoritarian governments may wish to stifle the voices of dissidents just as ardently as German officials hope to silence the extreme right. In some countries, religious leaders may seek to prohibit messages they deem to be blasphemous…

Full text of the article is here.


  1. Don't forget the limited extent of freedom of speech in Poland--despite the passage of 23 years since the fall of Communism. For instance, note the long-term effort to get RADIO MARYJA off the air. Those who cry the most about "pluralism" and "diversity" are often the ones who practice it least.

    Note that there are many forms of censorship. For instance, neo-Marxists rely on demonization and character assassination as tools to silence those with whom they disagree.

    To see my reviews of books dealing with the culture war in Poland, please click on my name in this specific posting.

    1. It is very wide of the mark to say that there is limited freedom of speech in Poland. I go there frequently and read the press across the political divide as well as listening to the radio and watching television.

      How is this "limited freedom" defined? Who limits it and how do they do it? The idea that it is done by neo-Marxists (do you mean neo-, or even closet, communists? Marxism and communism aren't the same thing) is silly because you don't provide any evidence that it has happened. If it has, please don't keep this information private.

      From your posts here I assume you think conservative and the the right in general have limited freedom of expression. If that is the case then I can't see that your opinion is consistent with the facts on the ground. Rzeczpospolita, Nasz Dziennik, Nasza Polska cover Uwazam Rze cover a broad spectrum of centre-right, conservative to right wing opinion. There are Catholic publications from liberal to very conservative. What you describe as the "long term effort to get Radio Maryja off the air" as you would have it, includes the Catholic authorities in Poland and the Vatican but since it hasn't succeeded and is unlikely to it's hardly evidence for the case that there is only limited freedom of speech in Poland.

      The fact is that culture wars are evidence not of censorship but of lively public debate. I am completely opposed to the political and social line taken by Radio Maryja but I wouldn't want it to be shut down.

    2. By your own statement, the fact that RADIO MARYJA has not been shut down is not for lack of trying by its critics. See also other posts below, and the review to which I link below.

      Certainly there are differences between Marxists and Communists. In addition, neo-Marxists silence opposing views not by sending their proponents to the Gulags or to re-education camps. Instead, neo-Marxists use smear tactics and character assassination to achieve these ends.

    3. Despite all that you have said you have not bolstered at all your contention that Poland only has limited freedom of speech. Radio Maryja's problems in securing a digital multiplex spot are hardly different from problems independent broadcasters have in many western countries where governments make use of their power to award/reward the favoured.

      Smear tactics have been and continue to be used by both right and left and there is certainly no monopoly by the left or, to use your category, "Neo-Marxists" in this. The latter term seems in need of elucidation. What do you mean by it?

    4. You write of: "problems independent broadcasters have in many western countries where governments make use of their power to award/reward the favoured."

      Even overlooking ideology, you, once again, have made my point.

    5. No, I rather think not, unless your point was some other notion than that there is only limited freedom of speech in Poland. You've brought forward no new evidence of this at all to add to the zero evidence you had before. Remember Foghorn Leghorn's contention - "Two half nuthins equal a whole nuthin"

      The "case" of RM doesn't help that at all because it continues to broadcast and no-one from the current government has suggested it should be taken off air. The fact that it is being denied access to the digital spectrum could be evidence that the government is deliberately making life difficult for RM in an arbitrary manner only if you can show that RM has been asked to meet criteria (what ever they might be), that weren't applied to other private broadcasters or that having met the designated criteria it was refused on other grounds that were again, arbitrarily applied. Failing that, your case fails.

      Now, the comparison with the way governments act in other countries was made simply to demonstrate that this isn't true of Poland alone. The "favoured" are usually competitors who lobby, ie commercial broadcasters.

      It's no good trying to turn my argument around in your favour without providing the evidence about selective treatment of RM. And even if RM were treated unfairly because of its "unacceptable" ideology it still doesn't support the contention that there is only limited freedom of speech in Poland.

    6. The fact that freedom of speech is threatened (in this case, for Radio Maryja) is sufficient to qualify as a threat to freedom of speech in general. The fact that other independent stations do not quality for duplex status does not nullify this situation. Surely the establishment knows that keeping independent stations off the air, for whatever stated reason, is a nice way to censor opposing viewpoints! What's more, it can be done under other reasons, or pretexts. That, I think, is fairly obvious. So my argument about your statement supporting my contention does stand.

      The fact that attempts to get RADIO MARYJA have (so far, anyway) been unsuccessful does not mean that freedom of speech exists. (If you constantly have to struggle to retain your freedom, then it is not truly and fully freedom).

      I find your constant call for proof rather misplaced. Proof can be found by studying the pattern of hostility towards RADIO MARYJA and calls for its banning. This can be verified by reading up on it.

      Likewise, your earlier call for clarification of neo-Marxism sounds like you know little about it. I think that it would be helpful if you studied this matter instead of requesting that I explain it all to you.

    7. We're about to go in circles, if in fact we haven't already started.

      Your original contention was that there was only "limited freedom of speech" in Poland. In your latest post this has now become "freedom of speech is threatened". That's a big shift, even if one accepts it's true and not simply RM failing to meet general and/or specific criteria applied to everyone else, for access to the digital spectrum. For that you need the evidence - pointing to the case of RM is begging the question.

      The fact that someone or some organisation calls for the banning of RM and that this has been going on for some period is proof only of a campaign against RM not of limited freedom of speech in general. If such calls are not made by government representatives then it may be "campaign" but so what? It's an aspect of the freedom of speech we all want to uphold.

      As for the issue of neo-Marxism: here you've answered a question with a question. That's a very useful, rhetorical device but it's not a logical one. I have studied the matter which is why I asked you to explain your understanding of the term. In your post you use the term as if it meant either 'the latest', as in a new generation of Communists or crypto/quasi Marxists/Communists. It means neither of those.

    8. Far from being a big shift, a threat to freedom of speech, and its actual accomplishment, are very close. If I shot you and missed, versus I shot you and fatally wounded you, the outcome would be quite different, but my intent, and my homicidal criminality, would be the same.

      The "criteria" for licensing are clearly discriminatory against RADIO MARYJA, regardless of the pretexts behind them, just a surely as poll taxes are discriminatory against those who cannot afford them, regardless of the pretexts behind them. In fact, sophisticated forms of discrimination are typically disguised in nature.

      We must also remember that the enactors of radio policies are not gods. They are the servants of the people: People are not servants of radio-policy enactors!

      The fact that RADIO MARYJA got 2.8 million signatures in its support (that is nearly 10% of Poland's adult population), yet these are being ignored, also speaks volumes about the discriminatory actions against RADIO MARYJA. How much more obvious does it have to be?

      I am not engaging in rhetorical devices. Rather, it seems that you think that it is my job to educate you on such things as the fact and nature of neo-Marxism (which, BTW, even by your most recent post, you do not seem to understand). It is not my job to educate you.

      Yes, we surely are going in circles.

    9. I don't think the shooting analogy is relevant as I don't concede there is a threat to freedom of speech, just occasional calls, consistently unheeded by all Polish governments from that of the SLD to PO, to close down RM. You still haven't provided a shred of evidence that in Poland there is only limited freedom of speech.

      In relation to the licence issue You now think the criteria for licensing are discriminatory because RM can't meet them. Again you beg the question.

      As I understand it the criteria were mostly financial. Others met them, RM didn't. Sophisticated discrimination? Perhaps, but also no discrimination just poorly managed non-transparent finances.

      If RM cannot meet reasonable criteria met by other stations why should a petition change the Government's mind. It would be ignoring its own regulation.

      It's certainly not your job to educate me on anything, let alone about a current of 20th century philosophy. Although I'm still learning, I feel I have that education. If I waeren't mistaken in my interpretation of the way you used the term neo-Marxism - and you, yourself have not said that I was - then I am afraid it is you rather than me, who understands nothing about neo-Marxism.

    10. The root of our disagreement stems from your acceptance of the appearance of things (like radio-licensing regulations) at face value, in addition to what looks like your unwillingness to consider deeper issues, and what looks like your inability (or unwillingness) to recognize discrimination when it is subtle.

      The latter includes discrimination by disparate impact. This is not something that I made up: It is a recognized form of discrimination. Smoking-gun proof of disciminatory intent, which most of those who discriminate are sophisticated anough to hide, is not necessary to establish discrimination by disparate impact.

      By your own earlier statement, you notice that the policy is one "where governments make use of their power to award/reward the favoured". Are we to be naive enough to believe that the ONLY factor in such decisions is technical issues, etc.? How can 2.8 million signees, and several million RADIO MARYJA listeners, be ignored? Can we seriously believe that technical issues are the real issues?

      Disparate impact avoids discriminatory connotations when there is a compelling reason for its enaction. Please give me one compelling reason that radio-licensers have to get RADIO MARYJA off the air.

      As for who is misunderstanding neo-Marxism, I think that readers can read what I have written about it, and what you have commented about it, and make their decision accordingly.

  2. I'm unaware of anyone trying to get Radio Maryja off the air.

    I am aware of many good people who have condemned Radio Maryja's anti-Semitism.

    Among those condemning Radio Maryja's anti-Semitism -- the Vatican itself.

    Anti-Semitism is a bad thing. I use my freedom of speech to say so publicly.

  3. JP, your last submitted post was an attack on another person (me) rather than a statement of any facts. For that reason I refrain from posting it.

    As a previous blog entry pointed out, comments for this blog are moderated. I don't read every word of every post, but I skim most before posting.

    If I see that a post consists of nothing but ad hominem attacks on another person, I usually do not post that message.

    FTR, I have deleted numerous posts that consisted of nothing but ad hominem attacks on you, Jan Peczkis. I'm applying that same principle in this case.

    I don't agree with much of what you post, but as long as you don't violate the posting guidelines, I do post your messages.

  4. I certainly apologize.

    I did not mean my comment as a personal attack on you, but rather on what I consider your mischaracterization of RADIO MARYJA.

  5. Thank you.

    Whether or not I'm mischaracterizing Radio Maryja is open to debate. People who want to learn more can click on the link, above, to the Wikipedia article about Radio Maryja. The article is fully supported with citations to other materials on the web.

    I know that good people listen to Radio Maryja. I met such people in Poland.

  6. Magdalena PaśnikowskaOctober 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    I do not as a rule listen to Radio Maryja. I am not, so to speak, its target audience. Nevertheless:
    some people in Poland are against RM and want it off the air (they exercise their freedom of speech);
    other people are all for RM and want it to continue and to grow (they also exercise their freedom of speech);
    both Radio Maryja and the whole Rydzyk Empire is flourishing, RM continues to exist and I have not heard about any official plans to ban it.

    How then can anyone say (at least based on this example) that freedom of speech is limited in Poland?

  7. Magdalena PaśnikowskaOctober 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Overall, I think RM should continue to exist; it has (IMHO) a very narrow and biased stance on most issues, including Catholicism; but on the other hand, it gives a voice to (at least) a sizeable minority of the Polish nation, and enables the rest of us to see them for who they really are.

  8. I certainly agree with Magdalena.
    I need to add, though, that the issue is even more complex right now. There is a debate around whether Radio Maryja should be covered in the "digital multiplex" as it is called - this includes the channels that are to be a basic set of tv/radio ones to be available to everyone. For now it is not in the basic set of channels - and it probably will not be - due to some administrative/financial/legal requirements not being fulfilled by Radio Maryja. This, again, is another example of the freedom of speech - the debate does not centre around the idea of censoring the expression of certain views, but rather about some very different issues!

    I do not listen to Radio Maryja either and I have to admit I have not followed the discussion about them recently, but according to my knowledge from the last couple of years, I agree that they did (presumably still do) tend to present anti-Semitic views.

    1. Aleksandra is spot on about the "digital multiplex" situation, and how it is (just one) of the attempts to silence RADIO MARYJA under various pretexts.

      There have been significant protests in Poland against the censorship of RADIO MARYJA, and there is a petition, reportedly containing 2.8 million signatures so far, demanding that the freedom of expression of RADIO MARYJA be honored.

  9. Germans, like all us children of disobedient Adam, will misuse freedom of speech sometimes. As the Inspired Scriptures tell us: "But the tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison." - James 3:8.

    Not one of mankind can get it tamed. And, yes, I deeply regret some of the things i have said - and may yet say!

    Where "the world" may say that "sticks and stones can break my bones, words can never hurt me", the Bible tells us something very different. It compares one wrong word to the little spark that sets a vast forest on fire. So it can do incalculable damage. And I do think that as Polonians we have good cause to know the truth of that.

    So I would leave it up to Germany as to how much freedom of speech they wanted to have. And, as God has given us free will, it should be up to each one one of us how we use that freedom. But I would love everyone to know those beautiful words in Proverbs, which says that the capable wife has "the law of loving kindness on her tongue".

    That is a law that comes from a kind heart.

  10. Whatever you may think of RM, it is absolutely the case that the left is trying to ban it off the cable networks using flimsy and disingeneous arguments. Whether you think it is antisemitic depends on your definition of antisemitism.

    1. "Whatever you may think of RM, it is absolutely the case that the left is trying to ban it off the cable networks using flimsy and disingeneous arguments."

      Can you support this?

      "Whether you think it is antisemitic depends on your definition of antisemitism."

      Have a look at the fully cited Wiki page on Radio Maryja.

      A broadcast with a convicted Holocaust denier?

      Just for starters?

      That fits my definition of anti-Semitism, and most people's, I would have to guess.

      Allegations of antisemitism
      Some Jews argue that Radio Maryja propagates "extreme" anti-Semitism, including concepts such as żydokomuna — the conspiracy theory blaming Jews for the rise of communism in Poland.[35][36] The Council for Media Ethics has referred to the station's "weakly documented accusations" against Jews as "primitive anti-Semitism."[23] In January 2000, Radio Maryja aired an interview between Ryszard Bender, a historian from the Catholic University of Lublin, and Dariusz Ratajczak, a convicted Holocaust denier who claimed that Auschwitz was a labor camp rather than an extermination camp.[37][38][39]
      In April 2006, well-known Polish essayist Stanisław Michalkiewicz — a major personality on Telewizja Trwam — was reported in Gazeta Wyborcza as stating that "men from Judea ... are trying to surprise us from behind", and referring to the World Jewish Congress as "a main firm in the Holocaust Industry".[23][40] Michalkiewicz responded by calling Gazeta Wyborcza "an unusual example of the Jewish fifth column in Poland" and "a Jewish newspaper for Poles." Supporters of Radio Maryja claim that bigoted statements transmitted by the station are very rare and originate from its listeners rather than employees.[41]
      The charges of anti-Semitism against Radio Maryja have brought the station to worldwide attention.[36] A report of the Council of Europe stated that Radio Maryja has been "openly inciting to antisemitism for several years" and that there is "a lack of effective implementation of measures intended to prohibit antisemitic acts and statements" in Poland.[42] The Simon Wiesenthal Center initiated a petition condemning Rydzyk's alleged anti-Semitic statements.[43][44] In July 2007, over seven-hundred[45] Polish Catholic intellectuals, journalists, priests and activists signed a public letter of protest condemning Rydzyk's anti-Semitic remarks.[46][47]
      In August 2007, Nasz Dziennik, a newspaper owned by Rydzyk, suggested papal approval of for his behaviour, claiming that he led members of the Radio Maryja Family to the Vatican and met Pope Benedict XVI, kissing his hand. The Vatican promptly announced, "In reference to requests for clarification related to [Father] Tadeusz Rydzyk's 'kiss' ... the matter does not imply any change in the Holy See's well-known position on relations between Catholics and Jews".[48]

    2. 90% of the above are accusations of antisemitism with few cites. Michalkiewiczs statements are crude antisemitism of course and noone supports cavorting with holocause deniers (i believe the individual was killed?) but my understanding is that when you strip down the rhetoric that RMs main opposition is to the laicization of Poland which, they view, as helped by the fact that some of the elites in poland have stalinist roots (and yes some also jewish at the same time) in terms of their outlook on what it means to be Polish, abortion, homosexuality etc. You can view as crazy (and it certainly would not be acceptable in the US) but, my understanding is, that this is hardly a major portion of what they talk about on air (and while not excusing it, it is hardly surprising in a Catholic country (see some of the statements about Jews by Cardinal Wyszynski if you want to see a tradition of this) tossed into the EU/globalization).

      If you want to see crazy you can see things on the net that assert that Rydzyk himself is Jewish (along with everyone else in Poland apparently).

      However, at this point all of that seems to be a red herring and the real reason Rydzyk is being attacked seems to be that he is also against the sitting government. so yes please read up on how the Polish government hands out concessions for cable channel content providers and you will notice that this is largely a political and biases attempt to remove him off the airwaves in a country where most of the media is now run by the government or friendly stations. Even if you believe it is because of his antisemtisim and you may justifiably dislike RM and Rydzyk, the content should not be a litmus test for the government to allow him access to the cable network (at least if you take the American approach to free speech which i thought you were doingch)

    3. Dear dr Goska,
      I sometimes wonder why Radio Maryja gets all that foreign attention. I get a feeling that if a pigeon in Poland drops his "cargo" on a Jew it will be noticed, while acts of violence in the West are ignored.
      Father Rydzyk is (in my opinion) greedy, authoritanian guru-priest who walked away from Churches teaching and he even doesn't know that. I hope that Radio Maryja will outlive him. A lot of decent people listen to that station and they should not be subjected to his influence.
      I understand that some Jews are worried. There's an old proverb: "Beware of a silent dog and still water". Rydzyk is not a dog, but he isn't silent either. He will not come to Izrael to blow himself up in a bus. He's not calling for violence against the Jews. He's just a guy who's afraid of outsiders. His phobia feeds on anti-polonism. And it's unwise to treat him in such histerical way.
      The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an American institution. Some things cannot be seen clearly from far away. And from what I read on it's web site, ignorance of it's employees reflects great distance between our countries.
      I dislike anti-semitism, but how can I fight it, if some do-gooders add fuel to the fire?

    4. Not just the left according to RM and its supporters in PiS, PO and the entire "liberal establishment is also trying to ban it. In fact, according to them, everyone who isn't a true Pole and a Polish patriot is trying to ban RM and associates. Unfortunately for RM, the allegations of financial instability and irregularity at the TV station look genuine.

    5. The "financial instability" contention against RADIO MARYJA is an old trick, and purely a smokescreen. For details, please click on my name in this specific posting.

      Note that RADIO MARYJA is no fly-by-night operation that began yesterday. RADIO MARYJA has now been around for 20 years, has millions of listeners, and has following in many places outside Poland (Chicago, Toronto, etc.)

      Just as with poll taxes as a condition for voting, arbitrarily-set guidelines for cost are nothing more than a nice way to discriminate against those who have less money, and thus deny a voice to views that are not supported by the political or religous establishments.

      Let us always remember that radio broadcasting is not some luxury. It partakes of fundamental rights: Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of information, etc. Are the fundamental rights of independent broadcasters and their listeners any lesser than the fundamental rights of dependent broadcasters and their listeners? Certainly not.

      As I had said earlier, the only legitimate justification for a disparate impact policy is one supported by a definite compelling reason for it. Note that radio-licensing policies and technicalities, including those that treat everybody “the same”, are not in themselves legitimate compelling reasons.

      To have a compelling reason justifying the disparate impact that denies RADIO MARYJA air time, one would have to show that the airing of RADIO MARYJA programs constitutes a clear and direct threat to someone else’s rights, or that it imposes intolerable burdens upon radio licensers. There is no evidence for this.

      Absent a legitimate compelling reason justifying the disparate impact, the only possible conclusion is that the policy of disparate impact against independent broadcasters, including RADIO MARYJA, is in fact a form of discrimination against RADIO MARYJA and her millions of listeners.

    6. The link, showing the totally bogus nature of the "financial" contention against RADIO MARYJA, did not go through in this specific posting. The link can be found by clicking my name in this specific posting.

      If, for some reason, the link does not go through, the article can be found online. Its title is: A TORTUOUS ROAD TO TOTALITARIANISM IN MASS MEDIA.

  11. Here is another perspective on RADIO MARYJA. Owing to the fact that this book is not currently listed on Amazon, I have posted my review of it as the first comment to my review of another book on this subject. To see the original review and new review-as-comment, please click on my name in this specific posting.

  12. To Jan: I agree.I do not listen to Radio Maryja , I am not religious but some people are and this station is just right for them. What I do like about Radio Maryja and Telewizja Trwam (which I do watch for their segment Polski Punkt Widzienia (the Polish viewpoint) or Myslac Ojczyzna (thinking in the way of the fatherland) is, that they do not stifle free speech, yes,even speech that is offensive, as long as it is not calling for violence. It also offers a venue to voice ones opinions not cowered by the mainstream media. Radio Maryja as such is not anti-Semitic,however, some people invited as speakers have voiced opinions which were or could be understood as being anti-Semitic. I am not in favour of them, however, they should be allowed to voice them for the sake of freedom of speech. Instead of just attacking such views (thus forcing them into the underground where they can fester on) I would like to have a civilized talk with such people,ask them why they f.e believe in things like Jewish people controlling things/the economy or “zydokomuna”. (with regards to “zydokomuna”-according to the IPN, hardly an anti-Semitic institution, around 40% (not 1%) of the Stalinist “security” service had a (n atheist Jewish background), so it should be openly discussed why,otherwise this myth will continue to exist)
    About Gazeta Wyborcza- Personally, I don’t like it, mostly because of its lecturing stance, its high-and-mightiness often expressed against believers of Catholicism and patriots or people who doubt the official version of the Smolensk incident, its continuing fight against “mity narodowe” (“national myths”-apparently Poles are not allowed to have any,not like “civilized” nations) ,its constant stressing of “Polish anti-Semitism” “Polish rascism” “general backwardness”-sometimes,when reading it, one could think Poland was on the brink of becoming Nazi Germany, seriously. Unfortunately, it is cited very often in the West. Interestingly, the brother ,Stefan Michnik, of the main editor is wanted by Poland for Stalinist murders as a “security” service member.But leftist Sweden does not want to extradite him. Many such Stalinist criminals have fled Poland for f.e Israel (which does not extradite to “anti-Semitic” Poland,either. I am not making this up, extradictions were denied on ground of Poland not being able for reasons of mentality,to pass a fair judgment on such murderers).Gazeta Wyborcza quite often was white-washing such criminals or outrightly defending them… Of course, Michalkiewicz is kind of crazy to suggest such things-still, certain people do behave in a way that make it seem that he might be a little bit right….

  13. I didn't know about these allegations re Stefan Michnik, Hanna. I am assuming they won't have been publicised much, as it seems the crimes he is accused of were carried out on behalf of Stalin. Had they been on behalf of Hitler, then I suspect it would be a very different story and he would be extradited at the speed of light.

    Some victims matter - others do not.

    It is these blatant double standards that make me wonder if there is any point in even discussing RM. Its a Polish radio station, therefore it DID shoot Bambi's mother and that's an end to it. No discussion needed.

    Not that I have ever heard it, or am likely to. I left the Catholic Church a long time ago.

  14. No problem, Sue-they also defended this "nice" lady here:

    Quotes: She replied with disdain: The charges were "idiotic," she said, and Poland was a "despicable" country.

    "If they don't like you, they accuse you of being an ex-communist and a Jew," she told The Jewish Chronicle, a prominent British publication. She vowed to never return to "the land of Auschwitz and Birkenau."

    I,and I feel strong enought to make such a claim, 95% of humanity does not give a damn about the background of a murderer,G-d, at least President Kaczynski had most of her retirement money revoked as well as her medals of merit-had she given anything about Jewish moral law (apparently, as an Atheist, she might not have felt strongly about it...) she would have,at least, uttered an apology to General Fieldorfs daughter. Such people are horrible, they explain and excuse their crimes through an alleged "Polish anti-Semitism".In fact, they are fanning the flames of anti-Jewish sentiments.

  15. Yes, I've read about Helena Wolinksa Brus.

    It seems she can successfully hide from any accountability behind the cry of "Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad", with which those trying to speak up on Animal Farm were silenced.

    its not that I am at all in favour of hunting down and extraditing the very elderly by the way, but the double standards in this area are so blatant. And I hope they can give us a warning that everything the Inspired Scriptures warn us about "the ruler of the world" is true.

    And, as you know Hanna, I believe that we need to be "no part" of it, and leave it to the Creator. He has told us how sacred life is, and how seriously He views the taking of it.

  16. Dear Sue, I respect Your faith but do not share it. I think, as we do not know if there is a G-d at all, we should do our best to bring everyone guilty to justice. A final stroke is what tells the world-look, you can do whatever you want and get off scot-free. At least, let us try...

  17. Hello Hanna, yes, I know we believe/think very different things, and obviously that affects how we deal with Polish media issues. I do try to tackle one issue a month - am at present in an email correspondence with a Polish-Jewish guy who had a reference to "Polish" concentration camps on his site. He agrees with me, is going to make the correction, and thanked me for the quote from "When A Crocodile Eats the Sun" about the betrayal of the Polish Forces the moment the war ended. I have written back, and I hope we might talk some more. I have also witnessed to him in a small way, and hope he might want to hear more about that. I do think we can all make a difference. And I am certain that if we try to tackle these things in harmony with the guidelines in the Inspired Scriptures, what we say will be very powerful.

  18. Food for thought. Radio was used in Rwanda to teach Hutu to hate Tutsi. It was also used to incite genocide.



Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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