This article is an attempt to answer the question whether, in the Polish law theory and practice, the limits of the freedom of expression of the press are precisely defined and what is the predictability of the mechanisms to execute responsibility for transgression of these limits. Freedom of expression is subjected to the limits of admissible interference in the sphere of rights and freedoms in accordance with the requirements contained in Article 31(3) of the Constitution and Article 10(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Any limitations upon the exercise of freedom of the press may to be 'imposed only by statute' and only when necessary in a democratic state for the protection of freedoms referred to in the above-mentioned acts. These considerations seem to suggest that the limits of freedom of the press should be established in a defined and unquestionable way. Nevertheless, no such conclusion can be drawn from the decisions of Polish courts on two cases of collision between values protected by the Constitution and by the Convention, i.e. protection of freedom of the press and protection of honour and privacy. Some doubts in this area result from the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Tribunal. Particularly controversial is the transgression of the limits of expression and violation of virtue and other personal rights by stating the untruth. The article addresses some questions - absent in the above-mentioned judgments - which makes the issue of veracity of public expression even more ambiguous. The systemic interpretation and analysis of the practice of Polish courts enables us to conclude that making the illegality of an expression dependent on its veracity is both unfounded and infeasible.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.