Lech Wałęsa awarded the Special Medal for Freedom of Speech
On Wednesday, 30 August, at the European Solidarity Centre the Medals for Freedom of Speech were awarded to people, who in their everyday work and activity have fought for the values and stood up in defence of those deprived of freedom of speech. This year's awardees included journalists, but also social and civic activists, including Professor Ewa Łętowska, journalist Piotr Świerczek and Jerzy Owsiak and Lidia Niedźwiedzka-Owsiak.
A special award, reserved for those who have achieved the status of true symbols of the fight for freedom of speech, was received by President Lech Wałęsa. "From the signing of the agreements in Gdansk began the end of the Soviet Union, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the removal of occupation troops from Poland, as well as the reunification of Germany. Do you realise what a great achievement this was for our nation?" - said Lech Wałęsa. The President also criticised actions of the current government violating the rule of law - "They can be accused of many things, but I accuse them of not respecting the laws of the constitution, on which they swore an oath," he added.
The Freedom of Speech Medal is a special award established in 2021 by the Grand Press Foundation. The main idea is to annually honour with medals Poles who, by their conduct and actions in the public space, promote the ideas of public debate and uphold freedom of speech. In previous editions, the medals were awarded to journalists Andrzej Poczobut and Piotr Jacoń, lawyers Adam Bodnar and Igor Tuleya, historian and educator Agnieszka Jankowiak-Maik, and teacher and activist Katarzyna Wappa.