Archive for Friday, October 12, 2007

Polish opposition in doghouse over ad disparaging official and his schnauzer

October 12, 2007

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— A court has ordered an opposition party to apologize publicly to the speaker of parliament for making what it said were false claims about him and his dog in a campaign ad, a court spokesman said Thursday.

The Left and Democrats opposition party claimed in a radio ad ahead of Oct. 21 general elections that Speaker Ludwik Dorn's schnauzer Saba destroyed furniture in government offices he used in his previous post as interior minister, and that Dorn had refused to pay for the damage.

The party accused the ruling Law and Justice party, to which Dorn belongs, of misusing public money.

Wojciech Malek, a spokesman for Warsaw's district court, said that the court determined that the information was false and ordered the Left and Democrats - an alliance of former Communists and center-right politicians - to apologize in radio broadcasts that must run three times over three days.

The court ordered the party to say in the ad that its electoral committee "apologizes for spreading untrue information alleging that his dog Saba destroyed furniture in the ministry, that is, that it chewed it and that Ludwik Dorn did not pay for the destroyed goods."

The claims about Dorn and his dog were first made by the weekly magazine Wprost in an article last month citing an unidentified source.

The Left and Democrats have appealed the ruling, forcing a delay of the apology.

The party's leader, Wojciech Olejniczak, defended his party's ad, saying it had taken its information from Wprost, and noting that the magazine has not rescinded that claim.

"Our goal was not to offend the dog Saba," Olejniczak was quoted as saying by the news agency PAP.

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