Polish President Andrzej Duda slammed German press after being asked about Polish freedom, apparently citing the lack of immediate reporting of the Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks of 2015.
The Polish president, who sat next to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a press Q&A earlier this week, was asked about freedom of the press in Poland by a journalist questioning why Polish state radio had not reported the European Union decision to halt Polish judicial reform.
Claiming he had not heard the radio broadcast in question, President Duda went on to add: “I do not influence what media reports on in Poland.”
Polish President triggers media during a Q&A in Germany with the German President
Press- Why didn't your state radio report about EU's decision to freeze your judicial reform?
President -"I don't know but our media would report if our women were raped. Our press is free"😎😎😎 pic.twitter.com/AVwLWjT54a
— BasedPoland (@BasedPoland) October 24, 2018
“In Poland, it works in such a way that if a woman or group of women are raped that you can be sure the media would immediately report about it with all the details we have at that moment. So we definitely have a free press in Poland,” he added to some applause from members of the audience.
Following the attacks, a leaked cache of emails revealed that the Cologne police had even attempted to cover up the extent of the incident after receiving orders from the regional North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state government.
In total, over 1,000 criminal complaints were received by police but a year after the attack only 18 people had been convicted in connection with the sexual assaults.
The Polish judicial reforms referenced by the journalist questioning President Duda have also been a source of controversy within the European Union and have led to protests from various establishment figures and threats of sanctions against Poland.
Poland, meanwhile, has rejected the EU stance on the issue with the leader of the Law and Justice party (PiS) Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński saying Poland “won’t be broken” by the bloc.
The sentiment was echoed last month by President Duda who called the EU an “imaginary community” and said: “When our affairs are resolved, we will deal with European affairs. For now, let them leave us alone and let us fix Poland because this is the most important thing.”