Poland’s President Thanks Trump for Battling ‘Fake News’

The Year in Fake News

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda thanked U.S. counterpart Donald Trump for fighting fake news, saying that his country’s leaders are also the victim of false reports accusing them of undermining democracy and the rule of law.

“President Trump just stressed again the power of fake news,” Duda said on his Twitter account Thursday, hours after the U.S. head of state announced the recipients of his so-called Fake News Awards. “Thank you. We must continue to fight that phenomenon.”

In an echo of Trump’s divergence with the U.S. political elite, Duda and his ruling-party allies have rebelled against “elites” in Poland and the European Union, prompting the unprecedented threat of sanctions from the bloc for failing to respect its democratic values. Duda says the government isn’t impeding the rule of law, even though he has failed to swear in three Constitutional Court justices legally picked by his political opponents and the cabinet has refused to publish, and hence make binding, tribunal rulings it disagrees with.

“Poland experiences the power of fake news first hand,” Duda said. “Many European and even U.S. officials form their opinions of Poland based on the relentless flow of fake news.”

Trump visited Warsaw last July, praising Poland as a beacon of what he described as the western values of religion, tradition and national sovereignty. He made only a passing reference to the rule of law and freedom of speech. Five months later, the State Department said a fine imposed by a Polish regulator on a U.S.-owned television news network for the way it covered anti-government protests in Warsaw “appears to undermine media freedom.” A month later, the watchdog dropped the penalty.

— With assistance by Marek Strzelecki

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