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The Artistic Freedom Initiative, with Support from the Harriman Institute, Releases Second Special Report
October 19, 2022

The Artistic Freedom Initiative’s Artistic Freedom Monitor issued its second country-specific human rights report, Cultural Control: Censorship and Suppression of the Arts in Polandwhich focuses on how Poland’s populist government, led by the Law and Justice party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość; PiS), has actively reshaped Poland’s arts and cultural landscape in order to advance right-wing, nationalist narratives. In the process, the right to free artistic expression has been seriously hampered, and many artists have been compelled to either conform to PiS’s agenda or suffer professionally.

Cultural Control provides an analysis of PiS’s strategy to promote its nationalist political vision and strategically crowd out opposition voices from the nation’s most influential arts and cultural institutions. The report finds that PiS has abused the Polish justice system to intimidate artists and censor creative expression that contradicts the Polish Catholic Church or the nation’s image. The report identifies and outlines PiS’s tools of systematic artistic suppression, and puts forth precise, actionable policy recommendations to strengthen protections for Polish artists and cultural workers.

Sanjay Sethi, Harriman Certificate ’07, is Co-executive Director of the Artistic Freedom Initiative. The Artistic Freedom Monitor was created in partnership with UC Berkeley School of Law and Columbia University’s Harriman Institute and funded by the SDK Foundation for Human Dignity.