No More Gagging: Artistic Freedom Initiative Fights for Liberty of Polish Artists from New PM

Donald Tusk has promised to restore freedom of expression in Poland's public service media "within days of taking power".Michal Dyjuk/AP Photo

Artists in Poland have been muzzled over the last eight years by its populist government. However, with a change in governance, that is likely to change as the Artist Freedom Initiative (AFI) is urgently calling on the newly-elected Prime Minister, Donald Tusk to restore the free speech of Polish artists.

The NGO which supports persecuted and oppressed artists in the world with free legal representation detailed that being an artist is all about the freedom to express one’s thoughts and ideas into an art masterpiece.  This, the association believes will not be realised when the creative sector is not at liberty to speak.

In an interview with Euronews Culture, the Co-Executive Director of the AFI, Sanjay Sethi, shared that there was a need to uphold democracy in the Polish setting.

“The role of art in democracy is very critical. … At its core, art is a medium of expression, and the freedom to express oneself is fundamental to democracy. By tackling this issue, (the Tusk government) would really send a message to the Polish people that upholding democratic norms is important,” he said.

He also stated that the election of Donald Tusk by the Polish populace is the beginning of a new dawn and despite the rise of other economic crises, he (Tusk) should be ready to restore democracy.

“I think Poland sent a first message in electing Tusk,” Sethi said. “It can send another message by showing why it’s important to create a pluralistic society where multiple viewpoints are allowed to emerge and the public is allowed to debate issues rather than shut one side down.”

A former president of the European Council, Donald Tusk was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Poland on Wednesday, December 13.

He is bent on restituting and working on the damages conservative rule has left the Polish populace. He also seeks to strengthen European Union ties according to German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

“Donald Tusk wants Poland to be again in the heart of the EU, and that’s where her place is,” Scholz said. “I am happy that together, arm in arm with Poland, we can develop the EU and the Polish-German relations.”

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