We are Grzegorz and Teresa Malkiewicz and we are the editors of Nowy Czas, a small newspaper serving the Polish community in London.
In 2015 we published an article about Jan Serafin, a well known member of the Polish community in London. We discussed his business ventures, his bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Restrictions Order, and his engagements within the Polish community. We expressed concern at his involvement with the Kolbe House care home — a registered charity.
Mr Serafin sued Nowy Czas and us personally for libel, but at the trial in 2017 we prevailed. We upheld our freedom of expression rights using the defences of ‘Substantial Truth’ and ‘Public Interest,’ which were introduced by parliament in 2013 in order to protect the free speech of people like us.
However, Mr Serafin represented himself during the trial, and the appellate courts ruled that the judge did not give him a fair hearing. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that there must be a retrial.
After a visit to the High Court in 2017, the Court of Appeal in 2019, and the Supreme Court in 2020 we are back to square one… but all our funds have been exhausted. There is now a charge on our home which prevents us from raising more money. We desperately want to defend our journalism and we are confident that the defences in the Defamation Act 2013 will continue to protect us. However, the case is complex with many issues of law to be argued, so we cannot do it without legal representation.
We are therefore launching this crowdfunding campaign to ask anyone who cares about free speech and freedom of the press to contribute to our legal costs.
The Defamation Act 2013 was specifically enacted to make defending public interest journalism easier, and our case is a great opportunity to establish a legal precedent that will help independent publishers, bloggers and local campaigners speak out on the issues that affect their communities.
The money raised from this campaign will be transferred to Czas Publishers Ltd and will be used to pay for an experienced defamation barrister to defend our case, and to pay other legal bills we have incurred. Although our initial target was £25,000, the total amount we require is £50,000. If we are successful in raising more money than we need, any excess will be donated to press freedom charities.
We do not regret speaking out on a matter of importance to the Polish community in London, but the cost of free speech should not be so high. If we lose this case it is likely that Nowy Czas will have to close. We will lose not only our freedom of speech but our home and our livelihood.
- Tim Bailey
- Mirek Malevski
Fundraising team (2)
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