A diplomatic row has broken out between Poland and the US after the American ambassador in Warsaw accused senior Polish officials of attempting to intimidate journalists from a US-owned broadcaster.
The dispute concerns the ongoing controversy surrounding an explosive documentary that was broadcast in January on TVN24, the news station of private broadcaster TVN, in which reporters infiltrated a Polish neo-Nazi organisation and broadcast footage of its members holding a birthday party for Adolf Hitler in a Polish forest – complete with a birthday cake decorated with the colours of the Third Reich.
The footage fed concerns over the rise in visibility of Polish far-right movements in recent years, with critics accusing Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) of turning a blind eye to radical nationalist sentiment.
Senior Polish officials, including the interior minister, Joachim Brudziński, have appeared to endorse recent allegations in pro-government media outlets – based on the testimony by one of the arrested neo-Nazis – that the event in the documentary had been staged by the journalists as an anti-government provocation.
That prompted the US ambassador, Georgette Mosbacher, a Republican donor and Donald Trump nominee who took up her post in September, to write a letter to the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, about her “deep concern” over the allegations.
My report for the Guardian can be found here.