US ambassador scolds Polish officials over claims journalists staged neo-Nazi events (The Guardian)

US Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher meeting Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki

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.

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