A Polish court has awarded Alicja Tysiac $11,000 against a Catholic magazine, Gosc Niedzielny, after the magazine compared her to a child killer and a Nazi. While it is impressive to see a court levy such damages against a Catholic publication in this very Catholic nation, the ruling does raise freedom of speech issues.
Doctors told Tysiac, 38, that she risked going blind if she had the baby, but abortions are illegal in Poland. There are exceptions to protect the health of the mother. However, the gynecologist refused to perform the procedure. She had the baby and lost much of her eyesight. Two years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Poland to pay Ms Tysiac $36,000 in compensation and the magazine charged that she had received money for wanting to kill her baby. The magazine further compared her to Nazi war criminals conducting medical experiments at Auschwitz. The judge awarded her for the magazine’s “contempt, hostility and malice.”
The analogy of the newspaper was obviously wrong and abusive. However, this is part of a trend in the West to criminalize free speech, here and here. For an earlier column, click here. A newspaper should be allowed to make analogies of this kind and Tysiac’s supporters should be allowed to analogize the newspaper to Nazi propaganda.
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