Police are seen questioning Polish journalist Agnieszka Kaszuba in Michałowo, near the border with Belarus. (Photo: Fakt)

Polish authorities question reporter covering Belarus border area

On September 27, 2021, police in Michałowo, a Polish town near the border with Belarus, questioned Agnieszka Kaszuba, a reporter for daily newspaper Fakt, for about an hour, according to news reports, her employer, and the journalist, who communicated with CPJ via email. 

Kaszuba told CPJ that the officers stopped her car while she was following a border guard vehicle for her reporting, accused her of illegally driving too close to that vehicle, and fined her 100 złoty (US$25) for not having a security triangle and fire extinguisher as required by law, Kaszuba told CPJ. 

“There was another car stopped by the police at the same time, but they let the other car leave after around 15 minutes, while they did not let me go for about an hour,” Kaszuba said. During the stop, officers also asked Kaszuba about how she reported a recent article critical of border guards’ handling of a group of refugees and migrants who crossed from Belarus, she said.

On September 3, Polish authorities charged two journalists with violating state of emergency regulations concerning the Belarus border area, as CPJ documented at the time. Polish authorities passed a 30-day state of emergency decree on September 2, which bars journalists from reporting at the border area, according to news reports.

Kaszuba told CPJ via email that she was not within the area affected by the state of emergency at the time of her detention.

On September 28, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said he would request the extension of a state of emergency for a further 60 days due to a surge in migration that Warsaw blames on Belarus, Reuters reported.

CPJ emailed the press department of the Polish Ministry of the Interior, which oversees the police and the border guard, but did not receive any reply.