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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

‘Stop distributing fake news,’ Polish president tells foreign media

15.06.2020 16:30
Poland’s president has asked international media outlets not to spread “fake news,” accusing them of misrepresenting his remarks about LGBT people in reports focusing on a campaign speech he made at the weekend.
President Andrzej Duda speaks at a campaign rally in Brzeg, southwestern Poland, on Saturday.
President Andrzej Duda speaks at a campaign rally in Brzeg, southwestern Poland, on Saturday.Photo: PAP/Krzysztof Świderski

In a series of Twitter posts on Sunday, Andrzej Duda said his words were taken “out of context” and used for what called a “dirty political fight.”

“Yet again, as part of dirty political fight, my words are put out of context,” Duda said in a tweet in English.

“I truly believe in diversity and equality,” he added, addressing media organisations including the Reuters news agency, the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Guardian and the Financial Times.

“At the same time beliefs of any minority cannot be imposed on a majority under the false pretense of tolerance. In our times Truth has become a scared little creature that hides from much stronger Correctness,” Duda also tweeted.

He said he believed in a “world where truths, such as MeToo, can have a safe platform” and “where we can speak our mind, where words are not twisted.”

“I believe in tolerance to any views, so please stop distributing fake news,” he added.

A host of influential Western news outlets have published extensive coverage of Duda’s campaign speech on Saturday in which he referred to what he called “LGBT ideology” and drew a comparison with Soviet-era communist indoctrination.

Reuters, in a report entitled “Polish president compares 'LGBT ideology' to Soviet indoctrination,” said that Duda “compared LGBT ‘ideology’ to communist doctrine” as LGBT rights become a hotly debated issue ahead of a presidential election “in the staunchly Catholic country.”

The news agency reported that Duda is “an ally of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice Party (PiS), which dismisses the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as a foreign influence undermining Poland’s traditional values.”

Meanwhile, the AP news agency, in a report entitled "Polish President Calls 'LGBT Ideology' More Harmful Than Communism," said Duda accused the LGBT rights movement of “promoting a viewpoint more harmful than communism and said he agreed with another conservative politician who stated that ‘LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.’”

The AP reported that many conservative politicians in Poland “say they are not against gay men and lesbians as individuals, but insist they oppose the goals of a civil rights movement they claim is imported from abroad and threatens to sexualize young people.”

The AP added in its report that “gay and lesbian Poles and liberal Poles say government officials are adopting a language of dehumanization” and “targeting homosexuals to curry favor with the powerful Catholic church” and shore up support among conservative voters ahead of the June 28 election.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported—in an article penned by James Shotter—that Duda, “who is backed by the conservative-nationalist Law and Justice party, said he agreed with another politician from the ruling camp who said that LGBT ‘is not people, it’s an ideology.’”

Duda was speaking at a campaign event in Brzeg, a small town in the south-west of the strongly Catholic country, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

Britain’s The Guardian has reported that gay rights and homophobia are likely to be major issues in Poland’s delayed presidential election after Duda pledged to “defend children from LGBT ideology.”

The newspaper’s Shaun Walker, in an article published on Friday and entitled "Polish president issues campaign pledge to fight 'LGBT ideology,'" said that Duda’s new “family charter” move “pledges no support for gay marriage or adoption by gay couples,” while also seeking to "'ban the propagation of LGBT ideology’ in schools and public institutions – language reminiscent of a notorious Russian law targeting so-called 'gay propaganda.'"

Polish state news agency PAP cited Duda as saying on Saturday that throughout the communist period after World War II, children in Poland were forced to embrace communist ideology in schools.

“That was Bolshevism. Today, there are also attempts to force our children into an ideology, but different, a completely new one. That is neo-Bolshevism,” Duda said on Saturday, as quoted by the PAP news agency.

(gs)

Source: PAP