Poland accuses French radio station of "fake news"

The Polish foreign ministry has accused a French radio station of producing “fake news” after it accused Warsaw of trying to prohibit any reference to its liability for crimes committed by the Nazis during World War Two.

In a feature posted on the website of France Culture on February 9, the French public radio station said Poland "wants to prohibit all references to its responsibility for the crimes committed by the Third Reich."

In this context, Radio Culture referred to a Polish law from 2018 which penalises claims of Polish co-responsibility for Nazi crimes, and stated that the legislation had been severely criticised by Israel, among other counties, which called it an attempt to rewrite history.

In response to the accusations, on Monday Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk called the French broadcaster's accusations "scandalous," and announced a response by the Polish embassy in Paris.

"There will be no consent to such open and brazen historical falsehood, nor fake news attacks on Poland," Szynkowski vel Sęk wrote on Twitter.

Adding to the anger felt by the Polish government were claims by the broadcaster that Poland wanted to penalise the use of the term "Polish death camps" to describe Nazi concentration camps in German-occupied Poland.

The station also accused Poland of "prosecuting its historians." This appeared to be a reference to a recent lawsuit against a pair of historical authors over material contained in their book on Polish Jews during World War Two.

The suit, filed by a relative of one of the book's protagonists over the book's suggestions that he may have been involved in persecuting Jews, resulted in the authors being ordered to issue an apology to the relative.

To illustrate its claims, the station also ran an April 1939 picture of Nazi swastikas the northern-Polish city of Gdańsk, then a free city outside Polish territory, with the caption "Gdansk, Poland."

Ordo Iuris, a conservative legal organisation, announced that it will undertake legal steps against France Culture.