Polish Ambassador Takes Exception With Icelandic Reporting On Far-Right March In Poland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Polish Ambassador Takes Exception With Icelandic Reporting On Far-Right March In Poland

Published November 20, 2018

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Screenshot/Ruptly

The Polish ambassador to Iceland, Gerard Pokruszyński, is displeased with reporting that Stundin did on the massive turn-out of far-right groups who marched in Poland on the 100th anniversary of that country’s independence the weekend before last, RÚV reports.

In a letter he addressed not only to Stundin but also to Iceland’s President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Parliament, the ambassador has dismissed the reporting as “fake news” that could damage the relationship between Poland and Iceland, but Stundin’s reporting was based on verified reporting from numerous international media outlets, including Al Jazeera, BBC, New York Times, Euronews and the Guardian.

“We’re at a time where the relationship between Iceland and Poland is at a good place, and I do not want anything to ruin the good cooperation we have, but then this article was published,” he says. “I’m afraid of that. And this is why I have let the Icelandic government know about my displeasure. Not in the hopes that they would get involved in this case, but for them to know about it.”

For the record, there was absolutely nothing inaccurate about Stundin’s reporting, which was gathered from numerous respected media outlets from around the world. These outlets reported that the Polish government made an agreement with Poland’s nationalist groups to march together on this day—the state’s contingency leading the march, with nationalist groups behind them. Further, as The Guardian amongst others reported, “Lining up in parallel columns, Polish soldiers stood side-by-side with members of the National-Radical Camp (ONR), the successor to a pre-war Polish fascist movement, and representatives of Forza Nuova, an Italian neo-fascist movement, as they were addressed by [Polish President Andrzej] Duda at the march’s inauguration.”

Jón Bjarki Magnússon, a reporter at Stundin, told radio station Rás 2 that he found the ambassador’s reaction confusing.

“In actuality it’s probably a bit hyperbolic to state that this reporting could simply damage the relationship between the two countries,” he said. “It’s like they’re actually implying that there is some kind of diplomatic tension going on or something. So one finds this response quite incredible and unusual,” adding that it appears as though the purpose of the ambassador’s complaint directed at Icelandic politicians was to get the Icelandic government involved in the coverage.

The Icelandic government has not, at the time of this writing, initiated any kind of pressure on Iceland’s press outlets to change their reporting on Poland, and diplomatic relations between the two countries have not changed in the reporting’s wake.

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