Polish Party In Doghouse Over Ad
A Warsaw court has ordered an opposition party to apologize publicly to the speaker of parliament - for making false claims about him and his dog. The Left and Democrats opposition party claimed in a radio ad, ahead of October 21 general elections, that Saba, a schnauzer belonging to Parliamentary Speaker Ludwik Dorn, destroyed furniture in government offices. They further claimed that Dorn had refused to pay for the damage, and accused the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, to which Dorn belongs, of misusing public money.
Ludwik DornWojciech Malek, a spokesman for Warsaw's district court, said that the court determined that the information was false and ordered the Left and Democrats - an alliance of ex-communists and center-right politicians - to apologize in radio broadcasts that must run three times over three days. The court ordered the party to say in the ad that its electoral committee 'apologizes for spreading untrue information alleging that his dog Saba destroyed furniture in the ministry, that is, that it chewed it and that Ludwik Dorn did not pay for the destroyed goods.' The claims about Dorn and his dog were first made by the weekly magazine Wprost in an article last month citing an unspecified anonymous source. The Left and Democrats have appealed the ruling, forcing a delay of the apology. The party's leader, Wojciech Olejniczak, defended his party's ad, saying it had taken its information from Wprost, and noting that the magazine has not rescinded that claim. 'Our goal was not to offend the dog Saba,' Olejniczak was quoted as saying.