Poland drops investigation into online hate

By Nissan Tzur, August 2, 2012
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Poland’s general prosecutor has called off a year-long investigation into antisemitism on some of Poland’s largest internet portals and websites. The decision was taken, according to the general prosecutor’s office, “because of lack of public interest”.

The probe was initiated in April last year when Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski filed a complaint about websites which carried the words: “To the oven, Jews, to the oven. Hitler started, we will finish.”
Some of the entries mentioned Mr Sikorski’s Jewish wife, Anne Applebaum, saying: “Radoslaw Sikorski, the husband of the Orthodox Jewish American, the enemy of real Poles, American agent who is remote-controlled by his father-in-law.”

Dariusz Slepokura, a spokesman for the general prosecutor’s office, said: “Mr Sikorski can always sue the perpetrators in court with a private action.”

Meanwhile, in recent months, antisemitism has been increasing on a variety of websites. Shortly after the terror attack in Bulgaria, hundreds of entries expressing support for the attack appeared on Onet, the largest portal in the country. Some included sentences such as “Good job, Iran!” and “Only seven Israeli terrorists dead? Pity there weren’t more.”

Pawel Klimiuk, spokesman for one of Poland’s largest media groups, which owns Onet, said: “We only provide platform for users to express their opinions and do not interfere with the content of the comments.”

After a closer examination of them, Mr Klimiuk rowed back, saying: “I am also shocked reading some of the comments. They are against the rules we set up for the discussion board, but these comments do not reflect Onet’s opinions and according to Polish law we are not responsible for them.”

Last updated: 1:26pm, August 2 2012