First aid for Polish democracy

Parallels with the Soviet era are increasingly evident in Poland where the ruling coalition hounds judges and captures courts. Adam Bodnar, the country’s human rights commissioner, lambasts European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a “lack of leadership” amid an antidemocratic onslaught that’s also damaged media pluralism. Laurent Pech, the head of the Law and Politics Department at Middlesex University London, urges Brussels to do much more to stop modern-day autocrats from creating a climate of self-censorship that entrenches their power. By fully embracing the legal concept of “chilling effect,” Brussels can help judges, activists and journalists in countries like Poland to resist autocracy, says Natacha Kazatchkine of the Open Society European Policy Institute, which partnered with EU Scream in making this episode.

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