Activity Report - Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation

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In 2022, the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedomby the World Association of Newspapers and Publishers (WAN -IFRA) in recognition of its work for media free dom.

“Independent journalism requires courage. And Readers’ support”

Part I – introduction

About the Foundation p. 6

Covering letter p. 9

Gazeta Wyborcza p. 10

Part II – The Foundation’s Board and Council

The Foundation’s Board and Council p. 14

Letter by the Chair of the Foundation’s Council p. 16

Part III – Statutory Activities

Support for independent media in the region p. 19

Ukrainian Media Fund p. 20

Local Journalism Initiative p. 28

Investigative Journalism Initiative p. 38

Tenderness and Freedom p. 43

The Editors’ School p. 50

News from Poland p. 55

Krzysztof Miller Award p. 58

Part IV – Financing of the Foundation

Foundation donors and proceeds from donations p. 64

Financial results in the years 2019–2022 p. 66

Report by the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation Years 2019-2022

About the Foundation

The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation was established in 2018 as a social initiative of Poland’s largest independent newspaper. It was clear to the editors that creating the Foundation was a natural step to honour and formalize Gazeta Wyborcza’s long-standing commitment to issues im portant to Polish democracy and the development of its civil society. Ga zeta Wyborcza came into existence in 1989 under special circumstances. It was necessary at the time to monitor independently and report to the public on the first free elections in Poland after the fall of communism. But also to show in a reliable way the truth about what was happening in Poland. For more than thirty years, Gazeta Wyborcza has never deviated from this mission in its work. In recent times, protection of free media, freedom of speech and democracy in Poland has become even more ne cessary. The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation has set for itself the statutory goal of promoting and protecting media freedom and integrity, as well as developing and financing independent journalism through a wide range of educational and cultural activities.

The Foundation’s projects have a nationwide and international charac ter and are implemented in cooperation with the largest media and le ading non-governmental organizations in Europe. Since its inception, the Foundation has been engaged in the most important social topics in the spirit of citizen journalism. The purpose of the Foundation is to pro mote social initiatives, civic projects and activities that seek to expand press freedom, enhance the quality of journalism as well as develop media education and critical thinking – both in Poland and, thanks to the Foundation’s current strength, in the entire region of Central and Eastern Europe.

Areas supported by the Foundation









Since the first issue of Gazeta Wyborcza, we have been continuously guided by the motto “there is no free dom without solidarity.” Also, independent, socially -engaged journalism is impossible without solidarity.

The deteriorating state of Polish democracy means that social and civic engagement is needed now more than ever. That is why, among the journalists and pu blishers of Gazeta Wyborcza, we created the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation – to counter with even greater determination the dangers facing independent media, civil society and democracy in Poland.

In three years of its activity, the Foundation has imple mented seven international and local projects, awar ded twelve investigative journalism grants for authors from all over Poland and co-funded more than a dozen investigative series conducted by Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalists – two of which won the Grand Press Award.

We became involved in the project to develop indepen dent local media because we believe that in the face of the crisis of democracy it is crucial to strengthen lo cal editorial offices. It is their credibility that restores both faith in journalism and a sense of empowerment among readers. Reliable knowledge of the immediate reality around them is the basis for civic engagement.

As part of our fight against disinformation and social polarization, we also joined the Europe Talks initiative – a discussion platform for readers from across Europe, through which they have the opportunity to talk to pe ople with completely different views on fundamental political issues.

20 institutional partners – media, organizations de aling with journalism and freedom of speech – from all over Europe.

Civil liberties and independent media have come un der fire almost everywhere. That is why it is so impor tant to share experiences and inform as wide a public as possible about the mechanisms used by govern ments to undermine civil society. With the help of Foundation-run website “Wyborcza in English: News from Poland” and the newsletter “Solidarity from Po land,” we describe for foreign public opinion the ac tions of the Polish authorities aimed at dismantling civil rights and freedoms.

Due to our close relationships with so many interna tional institutions that share our values, we were able to organize assistance for Ukrainian media which fo und themselves in a dramatic situation as a result of the Russian invasion.

construction, but strengthening the Ukrainian press based on the best models of media transformation within the last decade. Through it, we also want to help media operating “in exile,” harassed by authori tarian governments in their countries. In addition, we are preparing a grant procedure for projects aimed at documenting Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Importantly, none of these initiatives would be possi ble without our donors – both institutional partners and foundations focused on supporting civil society and free media, as well as Gazeta Wyborcza’s readers, whose donations are an immense and particularly encouraging expression of trust andsolidarity in the face of the aggravating global economic situation and galloping infation. Thanks to their generosity and the support of our partners and grantors, the Gazeta Wy borcza Foundation remains completely financially independent and can conduct activities based solely on an assessment of their social value, without yiel ding to any external pressures.

As part of our Ukrainian Media Fund, we have under taken since the outbreak of the war to pay the salaries of 150 Ukrainian journalists and we have provided fi nancial support to 50 local editorial offices. We have also provided three truckloads of equipment neces sary for those journalists who want to broadcast from the front. At the same time, we also support Belaru sian dissidents who have decided to flee their coun try.

The events of recent months have demonstrated with full force the scale of the challenges facing our demo cracies. The time for deluding ourselves that the pro blems we face will disappear on their own has passed irrevocably. As the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, we are determined in the fight for the defence of fun damental universal values – human rights, equality, democracy, and peace. There is no freedom without solidarity.

The three years of our activity have also seen the es tablishment of close cooperation with more than

In view of the enormity of the challenges facing the Ukrainian media and the heroic resistance to Russian aggression put up by Ukrainian society, it is difficult to find an initiative better aligned with our solidarity credo than the Ukrainian Media Fund. Currently, we are creating a programme not only supporting the re


For more than thirty years, Gazeta Wyborcza has been serving its readers daily. When the first editions of the newspaper were created, the editorial staff worked at the site of a former nursery and editorial team meetin gs were often held in a sandbox on the premises. Today, Gazeta Wyborcza is the largest independent newspaper in Poland, with 350 journalists in 31 local editorial offi ces.

approximately 290,000 digital subscribers and the wy website, Gazeta Wyborcza can be even closer to its readers today. Despite these major technological changes, the ideals cherished by Gazeta Wyborcza’s edi torial staff remain the same as they were at the very be ginning of its existence – a free Poland characterized by human freedom. Poland, a common homeland for all its citizens. Poland fostering truth and reconciliation, dialogue and tolerance.

women’s rights, as well as educational and environ mental campaigns while the money raised from online subscriptions is donated to a specific social cause. We also run free special issues of the newspaper on impor tant matters. Moreover, we distribute free online sub scriptions to for selected communities such as students, non-government organizations and representatives of minorities.

We are the only media centre in Poland with an inde pendent network of local journalists, editors and cor respondents. Local media are of crucial importance in providing reliable information to people in every corner of Poland. Our reach allows us to be close to our readers, as well as to act on their behalf and help solve the social challenges they encounter. Thanks to the

Gazeta Wyborcza is a socially-engaged newspaper. Da ily contact with readers allows us to use our reach to organize important social campaigns on a nationwide scale. These campaigns are often created in response to suggestions coming from our readers concerning sup port for freedom of speech or people with disabilities,

The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation was established pre cisely to nurture and expand Gazeta Wyborcza’s tra dition of carrying out social projects. The first historic edition of Gazeta Wyborcza opened with Lech Wałęsa’s words “There is no freedom without solidarity,” which will always be guiding us in thedevelopment of both Gazeta Wyborcza and its Foundation.

Adam Michnik, Editor-in-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza:
“The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation supports our newspaper’s important mission of promoting democracy and freedom of speech”
1312 1989 2004 “Wyborcza” has a criculation of 672,000 copies .. The first free elections. . The first issue of “Wyborcza” .. . 1999 Poland in NATO .. 2022 9.8 million visits to 290,000 digital subscribers The only newspaper in Poland with local branchesPoland in the EU Gazeta Wyborcza – the largest independent newspaper in Poland

The Foundation’s Board and Council

Joanna has more than 15 years of experience in international flanthropy and media gained in Poland, Belgium, France, Germany and the Western Balkans. She holds diplomas with honours obtained at the Uni versity of Warsaw and the Jagiellonian University. She combines her responsibilities at the Foundation with the following functions: Head of Partnerships at Gazeta Wyborcza, Chair of the Leading European Newspaper Alliance, and Member of the Executive Council of the European Media and Information Fund.

Chair of the Council, First Deputy Editor -in-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza

longtime journalist of Gazeta Wybor cza, lecturer at the University of Oxford and the Harvard Business School

Anna Kryńska-God lewska member of the Management Board of Agora S.A, a manager with over twenty years of experience in managing capital investments

economist and businessman, co -owner of the Green Caffe Nero cafe and Paragona company, which organizes work for doctors and nurses abroad

Editor-in-Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s leading daily

On 29 October 2015, on the eve of the election silence, we published on the front page our editorial position entitled “Democracy itself is at stake in these elections.” In the article, we warned of the dire consequences of the victory of authoritarian populists and encouraged people to vote for parties that respect the democratic order. Our publication was met with indulgent reactions: “Wyborcza is using the Law and Justice party as a scare tactic again,” it was repeated. The last seven years of destruction of the democratic state of law, violation of the Con stitution and the rule of law, devastation of democratic institutions, free media, trampling on individual rights, especially the rights of minorities – have confirmed that we were right. This is a bitter satisfaction. However, today “being right” is far too little and too late. Today, it is necessary to act. For Poland is treading the path that the authoritarian leaders of Hungary, Turkey, Venezuela, Belarus or Russia have already trodden before us. In none of the aforementioned countries – which is no coincidence – remain practically any media enjoying independence from the authorities, and independent journalists are easier to meet in exile, or in a prison cell than in an editorial office, at work. That is why we established the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation. A foundation that has set for itself the task of supporting and promoting the values that inspired the creation of our newspaper. It is freedom of speech. Freedom of expression is a prerequisite for social and civic control of government. It is a condition of democracy and respect for human rights. That is why we support investigative journalism and local journalism. We run a school of reporters and monitor media freedom in Poland incessantly. We inform the public of the democratic world about the state of free speech and democracy. We work closely with leading European newspapers, with whom we have formed the LENA alliance, and with international journalism organizations. Thanks to the GW Foundation, our activities are supported by Readers who are aware of the seriousness of the situation. Immediately after Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine, we created the Ukrainian Media Fund “Solidarity with Ukraine” together with our friends from Scandinavian journalism organizations. Thanks to it, we managed to raise 2 million zlotys. These funds will be used to protect journalists who risk their lives working in the frontli ne zone. We support them by providing funds and equipment. Our assistance to Ukraine was a heartfelt response, but I assure you that it will not end quickly, as most spontaneous actions do. The grim lesson taught to the free world by a fanatical despot operating beyond all control, spreading mass disinformation and aggressive propa ganda, reminds us of the truth that history is tragic and repeats itself in a dramatic fashion, if we only let it evolve in such a way. That’s why being right is not enough. That is why we must act.

To be right is not enough. It is necessary to act.
President of the Foundation’s Board
Jarosław Kurski Grzegorz Piechota Adam Ringer Peter Wolodarski

Statutory activities

Ukrainian Media Fund Local Journalism Initiative Investigative Journalism Initiative Tenderness and Freedom The Editors’ School News from Poland Krzysztof Miller Award

The foundation supports independent media in the region of Central and Eastern Europe through the Ukrainian Media Fund established jointly with partners from the Nordic countries


In response to the urgent need to support journalists in Ukraine, the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation launched the Ukrainian Media Fund in the first days of Russian aggression – a project aimed at the reconstruction and development of independent local media in Ukraine.

Founding partners and major donors

The fund was established by the Gazeta Wyborcza Foun dation together with partner organizations from media firms in the Nordic countries: the Swedish media group Bonnier News, Tidningsutgivarna – Swedish Media Pu blishers’ Association, Danske Medier – Danish Newspa pers Association, Medialiito – Finnish Media Federation, News Media Finland, and Mediebedriftenes Landsfore ning – Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association.

Ukrainian partners:

Association of Independent Regional Publishers of Ukraine (AIRPU), National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), Ukrainian Media Business Association (UMBA), Lviv Media Forum (LMF).

The fund is supported by, among others:

European Cultural Foundation, Swedish television T4, Sanoma Media Finland, A-lehdet Oy, HSS Media, Norwe gian media groups Polaris and NHST, Berlingske Media, National Union of Journalists in the UK, Axel Johnson, JP Politikens Hus, TELIA COMPANY AB, Stiftelsen Skellefte press and tens of media all across Europe.

The project is co-financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation

Donations and declarations of suppport for the fund so far: EUR 772,000


Tasks of the fund:

Emergency assistance

• Financing the work of journalists and supporting the operating budgets of 50 local media in Ukraine, including mon thly salaries for 150 local journalists.

• Purchase and supply of equipment –bulletproof vests and electronic devices.

Assistance in reconstruction

• Long-term financial and substantive support to rebu ild local media in Ukraine.

• Purchase of multimedia equipment for local editorial offices, creating new or updating existing editorial websites.

• Organization of substantive training and study vi sits for Ukrainian journalists in the Nordic media and Polish media, where Ukrainian journalists, pho tographers and editors will have the opportunity to work, exchange knowledge and network.

• Mentoring in business capacity building.

Areas of support

Regions where hostilities are taking place – 10 regions: Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Chernihiv, Sumy, Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Kyiv.

Ukrainian media during the war in Ukraine

We were both ready and not.

Since the beginning of the active war, we have understo od exactly what solidarity means. All the support from various media groups, colleagues and associations has been tremendous. The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation with its Ukrainian Media Fund was among the first to take immediate practical steps.

Oksana Brovko, CEO, Association of Independent Regional Media in Ukraine - AIRPU

Supporting security

• Security above all – these are the main words in re sponse to this terrible war.

• more than 60 bulletproof vests and helmets

• hundreds of powerbanks

• 48 sleeping bags and thermal blankets

• hundreds of first aid kits

• more than 70 computers, phones and video and pho to cameras

and other important and useful items – it is not mere ly a list of humanitarian aid. These are more than 1,000 items of essential equipment for our editorial staff and journalists. Thanks to your support, we have provided our journalists in the regions with basic protection and sent them technical equipment for better work.

Financial support

The Fund’s first donation supported independent regional media from the most vulnerable places in Ukraine: Kher son, Zaporizhzhia, Chernihiv, Sumy, Nizhyn, Slavutych, Odesa, Vinnitsa, Rivne, Kremenchuk, Khmelnytskyi, Po lohy.

What it meant for these 67 media from our Association:

• chance of urgent relocation

• immediate support of the entire staff of journalists

• opportunity to continue publishing local newspapers

Your financial and humanitarian aid helps just the members of our Association (AIRPU) to continue the work in local news services with a monthly audience of more than 9 million readers and regional newspa pers with a monthly circulation of more than 900,000 copies.

According to the Association of Media Business, your donations have supported 18 regional newspapers with a monthly circulation of 94,000 copies and a monthly viewership of their pages of about 575,000 readers. Fi gures from the National Association of Journalists: the monthly audience of regional services comprises the readers of 3M and regional newspapers with a monthly circulation of more than 300,000 copies.

Therefore, the Foundation’s decision to support at least 150 journalists from regional media by the end of the year was more than just financial support. This allows our local news services to continue to operate, and jo urnalists can continue to produce content for their re gional readers. Thanks to your support, independent regional media have survived.

After February 24, the country’s advertising market di sappeared. All media stopped receiving revenue. At the same time, independent regional press is still the most powerful and most useful source of information for re gional audiences and the local community. They need to find support to be able to continue their work and cre ate independent content through their websites, social networks/communities and newspapers. Local media are the main venue for local debates about rebuilding cities and towns between various groups of influence, the community, business, architects, authorities and ac tive citizens.


“All the help in the first weeks of the war, during the shock and confusion, during the mass evacuation of employ ees abroad, made it possible to withstand the blow, not to close down the media, not to dismiss the team, to endure the first months, recover and start working in a new way. I would like to thank donors and European partners. We are all Ukrainians.”

“Our Polish colleagues were among the first ones to support us, when everyone was still in chaos, and publishing houses and editorial offices in areas with militant actions, like Chernihiv, were ruined like sandcastles right before our eyes. During this time, the help of colleagues was very important. And it is especially pleasant because it was a brotherly Poland which completely understands the importance and tragedy of this war.”

Hennadij Chabanov, redactor naczelny, Odesskaya zhyzn, Odessa:

“Then, in the first days and weeks of the invasion, it was important to see speed, not quantity [of humanitarian aid]. On time and right away, our colleagues from various European countries showed that they were ready to support the independent media in Ukraine, the local media. We are grateful to them for this support.”




Project value: PLN 1,000,000 financed through partnership with Thomson Foundation


Independent local media safeguard democracy

The media are a key pillar of any free society. Indepen dent and prosperous local media enable citizens to make better decisions for themselves and their commu nities. They play a key role in conducting independent elections, as they make reliable and objective informa tion available to the local population. Societies in which journalists can freely and professionally perform their work are safer and more integrated.

As in Hungary, the Polish government has in recent years taken a number of measures to take over the me dia in Poland, liquidating regional newspapers and de facto nationalizing the local media. In December 2020, the Polish state-owned oil company Orlen took over 21 of Poland’s 24 regional dailies,accounting for 93% of the market for regional and local newspapers (online and print) in terms of circulation. The transaction is consi dered as a key element of the ruling camp’s plan to un dermine media freedom in Poland. The Law and Justice Party (PiS) has been systematically replacing executives and editors-in-chief.

organization based in London, which is dedicated to the development of the media. Thomson Foundation spe cializes in conducting advanced training for the media and has a presence in more than 100 countries around the world, working with more than 24,000 journalists. The Local Journalism Initative of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, implemented and conducted with the help of Gazeta Wyborcza’s and Thomson Foundation’s experts, consists in a series of training sessions for re presentatives of of local media in Poland and in the re gion.

Main areas of activity:

• Creating and implementing editorial and business strategies for local publishers.

• Helping them diversify their revenues, build know ledge of their readers and develop better editorial structures

Providing local journalists with advanced media ma nagement knowledge

After Orlen took over the local media, the first inde pendent media established by dismissed or departing government newspaper journalists already began to spring up. The aim of this project is to support them. The Local Journalism Initiative is being implemented in partnership with Thomson Foundation, a non-profit

The project’s assumed construction of editorial and bu siness strategies, as well as the ad hoc assistance of in ternational experts in developing better editorial struc tures, is expected to render local media more profitable and provide them with free access to advanced know ledge in the field of media development and media management. Inherent in this process is the expansion of knowledge about creating digital subscription mo dels, better diversification of revenue sources by local editorial offices, as well as knowledge how to apply for international subsidies for local media. These activities are aimed at strengthening independent local editorial offices , thus building a counterbalance for local media controlled by the government.

• Enabling independent local media to achieve long -term commercial viability by successfully applying for subsidies and diversifying revenue streams thro ugh subscription to newsletters, advertising articles and promoting events on social media.

• Workshops and sessions with experts – access to sub ject-matter experts, policy makers and others.

• Training on ethical standards and legal risks, inclu ding anti-SLAPP training.

• Security for online and offline journalists aimed at protection from violence and defamation.

3130 Ry

The most important role of journalism is scrutiny of institutions of power and people of public trust. This is why reliable and independent media consistute one of the foundations of a democratic society and serve every citizen.

Project value: PLN 3,500,000

Financing: Krych Family Fund, Kulczyk Foundation, Gazeta Wyborcza’s Readers and Friends


The Investigative Journalism Initiative of the Gazeta Wy borcza Foundation is a response to the deepening need for respect for democratic values and the protection of freedom of speech in Poland. It is the first such initiative in Central and Eastern Europe.

As part of our initiative, we strengthen the free, coura geous media and journalists in Poland by awarding them grants for investigations, we offer legal support to independent journalists, and we support the investiga tive materials of Gazeta Wyborcza.

Legal Support Fund – the Fund is part of Investigative Jo urnalism Initiative of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation. It provides journalists – winners of our grant competition – with legal assistance in case of attempts to intimidate them through legal repression. The Fund is a response to the increasingly common practices of abusing lawsuits and other tools under press and civil law in order to re strict freedom of speech and press expression.

Thanks to our Donors, we support and finance the the emergence of independent investigations by journa lists.

The initiative consists of:

Wyborcza’s Investigations – the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation supports the creation of reliable, unique and courageous investigative materials and reports by “Gazeta Wyborcza.” As part of the initiative, we have financed investigative materials in Gazeta Wyborcza describing: abuses by priest Godawa in Cameroon, the case of Adam Hofman’s agency, Prime Minister Morawiecki’s properties, intimidation of journalists (a report by Katarzyna Włodkowska), the entire series “The Ruling Party and Companies” and the Pegasus affair. A total of 17 materials and reports have been published. In 2021, Wyborcza’s journalists won Grand Press Awards in the news and investigative journalism categories. These are the most important awards for journalists in Poland. The Investigative Journalism Initiative supported financially the winning publica tions and authors.

Grants for investigative journalists in Poland – the programme consists of scholarships and grants for jo urnalists. An independent committee composed of distinguished Polish journalists decides to whom the grants should be given. Journalists apply for grants worth at least PLN 10,000. The programme is intended for journalists and editorial offices in need of support in time-consuming and costly investigative journalism projects. We support projects that are important to citi zens and foster positive change of Polish social, political and economic reality. These projects must carry signifi cant informative value and be conducted according to high ethical standards.

Ethical program financing policy:

The ethical financing policy was adopted to ensure that the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation properly ma nages its priorities and projects while maintaining an adequate level of independence from donors. This po licy is also intended to ensure transparency regarding the identity of the sources of financing for the Investi gative Journalism Initiative in order to avoid suspicion of undue influence or conflict of interest regarding the activities of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation.

Grants for investigative journalists in Poland

In October 2021, we launched the first call for the pro gramme. The grant-awarding committee includes key representatives of the most important editorial offices in Poland.

In the first edition, we awarded 6 grants for a total amount of PLN 100,000.

In the second edition of the initiative, in July 2022, the committee awarded six grants to eight journalists (including two grants for duos) for a total amount of PLN 118,000.

Grants support investigative reporting on social issues and local issues. Due to the safety of ongoing investiga tions, we cannot yet share details about the materials being prepared.


We awarded six grants in the second edition of the Ga zeta Wyborcza Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Initiative. The proposals we received from independent journalists, including local media, are impressive. Their projects have momentum, social significance, require meticulousness, time, money, may involve legal risks (we help here, too), but not only. They involve environ mental destruction, corruption, the dire state of health among Poles, severe abuse of power, social and political problems.

In such drastic cases, investigative reporters collide with a host of obstacles. People are afraid to talk (at most anonymously), firms and institutions don’t an swer questions (often violating the law on access to pu blic information) ,and then demand corrigenda, even though they had the chance to answer the allegations right away. Politicians and other negative protagonists

of scandals can threaten a journalist – and not just with lawsuits. Unfortunately, in this investigative work get ting to the sources of information and confirming such information is particularly difficult and arduous.

People in our profession do not complain, they do their job. However, it is worth helping them, especially when the investigative project is serious, thoughtful, has a chance to curb bad practices, lead to the repair of an in stitution, the healing of customs; in a word – to change the reality for the better. Investigative journalists have repeatedly proven that they know how to „replace” state bodies set up to combat irregularities and crimes. This is particularly important in today’s Poland, where po litical power has completely subordinated to itself all independent institutions, including law enforcement agencies, so they “now dance to the authorities’ tune,” and they act neither legally or fairly and honestly.

Journalists involved in difficult investigations break conspiracies of silence, overcome fear, force transpa rency, such as financial transparency, especially when politicians in power try to hide their assets and the fact that they are making a fortune just by being in the gover nment. Such journalists are the increasingly precious as our public life deteriorates – more abuse and looting of the public penny, the more the strong ones stifle the we aker, the more helpless people become in the face of the arrogance and ignorance of the authorities.

Such journalists and reporters are at a premium becau se they restore hope that citizens are not and do not want to be subjects and that the state should belong to the citizens.



Last year was one of the best in the history of “Wybor cza” in terms of investigative journalism. Even before the money was deployed, a group of closely collabora ting journalists was formed across Poland.

Money from the Fund allowed us to work without fi nancial concerns (trips, access to paid services etc.) on several high-profile, time-consuming materials. It also enabled the introduction of an internal incentive pro gramme – the best authors receive bonuses for their texts.

It is also very important to improve the atmosphere in the group of “Wyborcza’s” investigative journalists, who finally saw that they did not have to worry about whether there would be money for a trip to a distant place in Poland and a meeting with an informant.

As part of the Investigative Fund, we took part in an unprecedented campaign by large Polish media – to gether with and Radio ZET. The joint investiga tive and analytical campaign was entitled “The Ruling Party and Companies.”

“Obajtek’s tapes. Dirty business in a dizzying career of the CEO of Orlen”

“Wyborcza’s Investigation: Obajtek obtained a million -dollar discount on an apartment and Orlen became a sponsor of the developer’s football academy”

“From a seamstress to a businesswoman. How Daniel Obajtek’s mother put up PLN 800,000 in cash”

In the “News” category for Jacek Harłukowicz for the article entitled “Death of a Ukrainian in Wrocław. Half an hour of ordeal at the sobering centre [“WYBORCZA” DISCLOSES]

Thanks to this article, the Wrocław police not only fa iled to cover up the tragedy, but several police officers were actually dismissed. Moreover, the prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the death of Dmytr Nikiforenko.

Wyborcza’s Investigations – Awards

Paweł Figurski and Jarosław Sidorowicz received two Grand Press Awards in 2021 – the most important jour nalism awards in Poland – in the “Investigative Journa lism” category for a series of articles on Orlen’s CEO Da niel Obajtek (the most important texts below).


Wyborcza’s most important texts written thanks to the Investigative Journalism Initiative

Jacek Harłukowicz, Marcin Rybak “Wyborcza’s Investigation: the Morawiecki family’s plot of land and the BZ WBK group owning tenement buildings”

loses: the Pegasus affair in Poland started from eavesdropping on Bartłomiej Misiewicz”

Jacek Harłukowicz, Marcin Rybak “It had been safe until CEO Mora wiecki sold us. The ordeal of tenants sold to the BZ WBK group holding tenement buildings”

Wojciech Czuchnowski, Tomasz Piątek “They bought Pegasus for PiS and took millions. A ’family compa ny’ of former Citizens’ Militia and Secret Police members”

Judyta Watoła “A massive subsidy for the university, and then a quick promotion of the President of the Medical Ressearch Agency. The circumstances of Radosław Sierpiń ski’s career”

Jacek Harłukowicz “The secret of the Morawiecki family’s plot of land. Wyborcza discloses who really put up PLN 15 million for its purchase”

Jacek Harłukowicz “The Morawiecki family’s plot of land. Wyborcza disc loses documents showing how the prime minister conveyed property to his wife”

Jacek Harłukowicz “Wyborcza disc

Wojciech Czuchnowski “40 Pegasus licences. We disclose who else was surveilled by PiS” Wojciech Czuchnowski, Jarosław Si dorowicz “Prime minister Szydło’s former security guard reveals the truth about the accident that took place four years ago”

Krzysztof Katka “Wyborcza disclo ses: a quick profit made by Zofia Paryła, CEO of Lotos, for an invest ment in Obajtek’s favourite com mune.

Marcin Pietraszewski, Przemysław Jedlecki “This is how PiS rules the mining industry. Who is MP Grze gorz Matusiak, known as the ’great HR Manager’?”

A series of investigative and analy tical texts written together with and Radio Zet as part of the special series entitled “The Ruling Party and Companies.”

All the articles can be found under the tab “The Ruling Party and Com panies” on More details on


“Tenderness and Freedom. Let’s build a balance in rela tions” is a joint project of the Kulczyk Foundation, Ga zeta Wyborcza Foundation and the editors of Wysokie Obcasy. Inaugurated as a social compaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, the project finances articles on family relations, psychology, and mental health at the time of dynamic changes, during and after the pande mic.

topics discussed deal with the fears that accompany us in our daily lives, the division of responsibilities, and ideas on how to prepare ourselves and your loved ones for the new post-pandemic world. “Tenderness and Freedom” wants to create a new reality and talk about women’s freedom in the sphere of consciousness, car nality and being.

Created as part of the project are guide texts, interviews with experts, reports and events whose theme is buil ding relationships – both with others within the family and society, as well as with ourselves. The initiative is focused on mindfulness and tenderness; many of the

The executive partner of the project is the editorial of fice of “Wysokie Obcasy” – Poland’s largest weekly dedi cated to the rights of women and minorities. Since its inception in 1999 until today, Wysokie Obcasy has been a unique weekly on a European scale dedicated to such topics and belonging to a large national newspaper.

Project value: PLN 3,200,000 The project is financed through a donation by the Kulczyk Foundation


Our projects actually shape the social reality

For more than 20 years, every Saturday we have pu blished the Wysokie Obcasy magazine, a very unique ma gazine in print and online – We create a special place in the Polish press because we look at the world from the perspective of women who are aware of their rights and choices, want to be free and equal, and are fighting for this freedom and equality for others as well. We are feminists, both women and men, because we believe that feminism means solidarity between men

and women, without which there is no freedom. Aware of their rights, free women can change our world for the better. Our Readers appreciate in-depth, reliable, pro ven journalism, the wealth of topics, objectivity and in grained values. Women authors from all over Poland and around the world work with us wherever women need us. We are their voice at work, at home, at school and in politics. When they work, rest, protest and strike. Always on the side of women.


Different perspectives

As part of the Tenderness and Freedom project, editors and journalists of Wysokie Obcasy collaborate – creating dedicated articles and other editorial formats in “WO”, on the website and in Gazeta Wybor cza. What is important, the project also involves journa lists from Gazeta Wyborcza’s field divisions, from cities of different sizes, functioning in communities with dif ferent worldviews – e.g. western Poland vs. the eastern wall). We have also invited experts in many fields as well as independent authors, both Polish and foreign, to co operate in the creation of texts or on events organized as part of the project.

Elements of the project in the years 2020–2021

• 410 articles were written

• Articles financed from the project funds attracted 1,140 new subscribers to Gazeta Wyborcza

• Nearly 8 million website views

• 45% of the texts reached 10 thousand page views

• 85 texts reached more than 100,000 page views

• Podcasts, live or online meetings, discussions

Joanna Klimowicz’s ar ticle financed as part of the project was the best article published on Wy (reaching 828,000 page views)



Project value: PLN 200,000

The project is financed through a donation by the Kulczyk Foundation

The Editors’ School is Gazeta Wyborcza’s original pro ject financially supported by the Gazeta Wyborcza Fo undation.

In order to create the best content possible for wybor and, we combine the know ledge of experienced magazine editors with modern journalism skills.

The School is a special programme under which we have created conditions for learning and professional development for journalists and editors. We believe that the programme is an effective response to the urgent need to cultivate the highest standards in jour nalism and critical thinking in an era when fake news,

lowlevel of media education and the lack of public trust in traditional information sources have become a standard.

The programme consists of classes on describing news and larger thematic blocks, creating profiles, conduc ting and editing interviews, fact-checking, analytical and quantitative journalism (data journalism), inve stigative journalism, commentary writing, specialized journalism, solution journalism, reviews and critique, reportage, how to create magazines, SEO and content distribution. We focus on reactions and on how the narrative around social problems is shaped, not just on the problems themselves. We tell stories about solutions based on credible evidence, and through

them we explain how and why some of them work and others fail. Since the programme’s inception in 2018, more than 65 journalists and editors have participated, as well as 36 invited experts from Polish and foreign media. The programme was created by: Paweł Goźliński, Edi tor-in-Chief of the Agora Publishing House, and Danie la Werbeniec, manager of special projects at the Gaze ta Wyborcza Foundation.


In the third year of its existence, the mission and pro gramme of Gazeta Wyborcza’s Editors’ School – after the turmoil related to the pandemic and the transition to a remote mode – is stabilizing. The School, an original pro ject by Pawel Goźlinski and Daniela Werbaniec, remains primarily a place of imparting editorial competence, fow which time and space are lacking in the daily mode of Wyborcza’s work, but there are also discussions and debates around important current events, phenomena and texts. In addition to course classes on all the key genres and forms of journalism – starting with news and ending with investigative journalism and reportage, as well as a series on the language of contemporary jour nalism, the school hosts, among other things, lectures and workshops on disinformation, the new “folk” appro ach to Polish history or eco-journalism. The group of the School’s lecturers is also stabilizing. Among them are key figures in Gazeta Wyborcza’s editorial team, including Jarosław Kurski, Piotr Stasiński, Aleksandra Sobczak, Juliusz Kurkiewicz, Teresa Kruszona, Roman Imielski, Piotr Cieśliński, Radoslaw Leniarski. We also invite gu ests from other editorial offices and organizations, who share with us their unique competences. Among them are Bartek Chaciński (Polityka), Magdlena Kicińska (Pi smo), Krzysztof Varga (Newsweek), Adam Leszczyński (Oko Press), Filip Springer (School of Ecopoetics), Anna Mierzyńska (Oko Press). School graduates speak highly of its level. But most importantly – especially from the point of view of Wyborcza – the school effectively pre pares its students for promotion and the assumption of new managerial and editorial functions.

The Editors’ School was one of the best things that have ever happened to me professionally. Thanks to it, I was able to organize the knowledge gained over a decade at “Gazeta Wyborcza” and I learnt a lot from outstanding editors, with whom I did not have the opportunity to work on a daily basis. I feel that the last year was, thanks to the Editors’ School, a breakthrough for me: I put into practice many of the lecturers’ tips right away, which had an immediate effect. I would love to attend the lec tures for another year, but I know that there are others for whom these classes can be as instructive as for me.


In addition to the opportunity to brush up on editorial skills under the guidance of colleagues with many years of experience, participation in the programme was also a great opportunity to learn about the specifics of the work of various newspaper departments, which, espe cially for a person relatively new to journalism and the media industry was an invaluable experience. But the Editors’ School is, above all a whole lot of wonderful, inspiring people, with whom I hope to work more than once in the future.

News from Poland is a section of open articles on which was initiated by the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation with the aim of providing the foreign public opinion with reliable and verified information about the si tuation in Poland. The editors of Gazeta Wyborcza offer a daily dose of En glish-language articles and information on current events, especially those related to the crisis of democracy and the rule of law in Poland, the foreign policy of the Polish government, and explaining the social and economic situation of our country.

As part of News from Poland, the existing news and information, analyses, and opinion pieces are translated and new dedicated texts are writtenby the editorial team for an English-speaking audience. To meet the needs of foreign audiences, translated articles from the main website are expanded with the necessary context and additional information so that the issues they contain can be understood by readers who do not fol low news from Poland on a regular basis.

Fulfilling Gazeta Wyborcza’s mission, the editors of News from Poland col lect on a weekly basis in the “Solidarity with Poland” newsleter the most important information from the entire week, adding a commentary from the editors. The recipients of the newsletter are foreign politicians, repre sentatives of the media and NGOs.

Project value:  PLN 320,000

The project is financed through a donation by the Kulczyk Foundation


Editorial Staff

Miłosz Wiatrowski about the website’s impact

“The ’News from Poland’ project aims to inform the fo reign public opinion about the political and social situ ation in Poland. The language barrier means that English -speaking readers have limited access to reliable, in-depth articles on the foreign and domestic policy and internal politics of the ruling party, the state of Polish democracy, and, in particular, the escalating attempts to violate fun damental civil rights.

ged to double the number of addressees – our database of recipients currently includes more than three thousand people. They are primarily diplomats stationed at embas sies in Poland, representatives of foreign ministries, jour nalists and academics specializing in social sciences, and individuals working in international organizations, the EU and NGOs.

Former Deputy Editor-In-Chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, advisor to the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation. He coordinates the shape of the editorial line of News from Poland.

Economist, historian, doctoral stu dent at the Department of History at Yale University. In News from Po land, he selects texts, assists in their translation and editing, writes opi nion pieces, and creates the “Solida rity with Poland” newsletter.

student of interdisciplinary Ame rican Studies at FU Berlin and New York University. Editor of News from Poland. He selects, translates and edits texts.

The free ’News from Poland’ website and its accompa nying newsletter ’News from Poland: Democracy at stake’ seek to fill this gap by providing access to carefully selec ted texts published by Gazeta Wyborcza, which, in ad dition to being translated into English, are also additio nally edited to meet the needs of foreign audiences – they are enriched with the necessary context, with special em phasis on key aspects from an international and Europe an point of view. The main channel connecting us with our readers is the aforementioned newsletter ’News from Poland: Democracy at stake,’ whose subscribers are gro wing month by month. Over the past year, we have mana

A similar group of professionals are found among those who follow the ’Wyborcza in English’ profile on Twitter. The tweets we post with articles from the ’News from Poland’ website regularly reach more than 10,000 views.

A record audience – nearly 60 thousand views – has been reached by the entry promoting Katarzyna Wężyk’s text about the dangers of westplaining – the practice of some recognized European and American intellectuals ma king statements about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a way that completely ignores the Ukrainian perspective. Also very popular are posts advertising articles showing specific examples of violations of the rule of law and civil liberties by the United Right government.”

Piotr Stasiński Jakub Kibitlewski

The Krzysztof Miller Photo Award for Courage to Look was created to commemorate one of the most impor tant and most outstanding photojournalists in the history of our newspaper – Krzysztof Miller. A man who documented reality, the changing world, and the most important armed conflicts in the world. He sho wed the hell of war, the hardships of everyday life and he was also an excellent observer of Poland in the era of transformation. The award is financed by the Gazeta

Wyborcza Foundation. Project value: PLN 107,000 The project is financed through a donation by the Kulczyk Foundation. Its goal is to promote photographs with ex ceptional values in therms of journalism, distinguished by in-depth, reliable and a brave perspective on difficult social, political, economic and cultural issues.

Both professional and amateur photographers can com pete for the prize every year; individual authors and col

lectives of photographers. Submissions may be in all photographic forms, including photojournalism, docu mentary, series of portraits or landscapes etc., using any technique – with professional photographic equipment or a mobile phone.

The winner of the first edition was Anna Liminowicz awarded for her photo essay “Between the Blocks” about the relationship between two women. It was published by Duży Format and later by The New York Times.

The second edition of the competition was won by Ales sio Paduano, a regular contributor to Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, The Guardian, Newsweek and Time. A native of Naples, the photographer was awarded for his photo report “Modern slavery: the lost daughters of Nigeria”.

In the third edition, the top prize was won by Iranian Ka rim Motaghi. For 48 days he photographed, recorded fil ms, but also helped prepare the dead for burial in Sector 65 located on the periphery of the Vadi-Rahmat cemete ry in Tebriz, the largest necropolis in northwestern Iran.

The winner of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation Award in the category “Freedom, solidarity, tolerance” was Ję drzej Nowicki for his photo report from Belarus realized in August 2020, when just after the presidential elec tions, offcially won by Alexander Lukashenko, crowds of Belarusians took to the streets across the country in a gesture of protest.

Project value:  PLN 107,000 The project is financed through a donation by the Kulczyk Foundation


Photo 1.

Agnieszka, Natalia, and Honorata with her brother Michał share the space of a 19-squ are-metre rented flat in Gdańsk. Honorata is the deputy manager of the fish department at Leclerc, Agnieszka – a saleswoman at the same department. Michał, Honorata’s brother, is a manager at a Biedronka supermarket inthe neighborhood. If anyone from their family or friends wants to find a job in Gdańsk and stay with them, they never refuse. They joke that the name of the street – Startowa (“Starting Street”) – obliges them to help. The couple ra ises Natalia together, who is Honorata’s dau ghter. Agnieszka, a divorcee, is the mother of 5-year-old Antek, who, for the time being, lives with Agnieszka’s parents. The grandpa rents find it difficult to accept that their dau ghter lives with another woman. Gdańsk 2013

Photo 2. Preparations for the first Christmas Eve to gether in their own flat. Antek was taken from his grandparents and for the first time moved in permanently with the girls (Antek, Natalia and Honorata can be seen in the photo). Ka lisz 2015

Every year, many Nigerian women arrive in Italy with the promise of legal work, but in reality they become slaves and are forced into prostitution. For the past three years, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of potential victims of trafficking for the purpose of sexu al exploitation has increased by 600 percent. The phenomenon is affecting ever younger girls, often minors, who become the targets of violence and exploitation already during their travel. Once they reach their destina tion, dozens of unscrupulous clients are re ady to satisfy their sexual desires by paying a few euros, although most likely they are aware that the girls are being exploited by those usually referred to as “madame”, for mer prostitutes who handle the Nigerian wo men when they reach Italy. Most of the girls leaving Nigeria reach Castel Volturno at the end of their journey,a town in southern Italy where more than half of the population are illegal immigrants. On 9 March 2018, during a ceremony that took place at the royal castle in Benin City, Oba Ewuare II, the monarch of Benin (present-day Edo State in Nigeria), to gether with the highest local religious body, held a ritual against anyone promoting ille gal migration from his territories. Thus, Ewu are II eliminated the voodoo rituals connec ted with sexual slavery among women being the victims of human trafficking in other co untries. ”From now on,” declared Oba Ewuare “all those living in fear and feeling obliged to repay the immense debt just to keep the promise, may feel freefrom that fear because all forms of promise are hereby cancelled. ”In spite of that historic event, human trafficking and sexual exploitation continue.

Winner of the first edition Anna Liminowicz Winner of the second edition Alessio Paduano

Due to the failure to take timely preventive measures by responsible institutions and or ganizations, the spread of the coronavirus in Iran has increased dramatically since March. The coronavirus is constantly claiming more victims in all major provinces and cities of the country. The way funeral rites and burials of the victims are organized differs in each region, depending on the existing traditions and cultural forms. Within the culture of the Azeri province, people attach more im portance to the performance of funeral rites by actively participating in them. However, given the risk of the rapid spread of the co ronavirus, burial rites take place even aga inst accepted cultural norms, without the presence of the deceased person’s relatives or usually with a small number of them. The funerals of coronavirus victims usually have a short and dramatic course. I closely observed the various stages of bathing, dressing, and funeral rites. I also took direct part and re corded them photographically for 16 days, from 7 to 21 April 2020. When, for one reason or another, photographing was not possible, I made video recordings. At Vadi-Rahmat cemetery, the largest necropolis in northwe stern Iran, there is no separate section dedi cated to the burial of coronavirus victims, and families could determine them on their own. “Block 65” is used more often than other parts of the cemetery and this is where most of the deceased are buried. As most coronavi rus victims come from the lower and middle classes,”Block 65” is becoming increasingly crowded and enlarged.”Block 65” is further away and cheaper than other sections of the cemetery and this is where the most dramatic part of the coronavirus history takes place. I have seen the son of one victim standing next to his father’s graveand sending live vi deo to his family members who were not able to attend.

Mass protests in Belarus erupted on 9 August 2020, immediately after the Belarusian re gime announced the preliminary results of the presidential election. According to the authorities, Alexander Lukashenko won with more than 80 per cent of the vote. The presi dent has been ruling the country for almost 3 decades. The new generation entering adu lthood that is firmly embedded in the world of internet, the economic and political crisis, and the progressive erosion of the authorita rian system led to the largest protests in the history of Belarusian society. On the night of 9 and 10 August, crowds of Belarusian men and women took to the streets across the co untry. The regime responded with a wave of violence and repression.

Winner of the third edition Karim Mottaghi Winner of the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation Award in 2021


Institutional donations and strategic donors

2019 PLN 86,920

2020 PLN 6,186,717

2021 PLN 200,000

2022 PLN 778,000

The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation is fully financed from donations and endowments from private strategic do nors, such as the Kulczyk Foundation, the Krych Family Fund, King Baudouin Foundation, Thompson Foun dation, and the European Commission. Of key impor tance for the foundation is the trust of Gazeta Wybor cza’s Readers, who every year by single contributions support the Foundation’s statutory goals, in particular those oriented around the fight for media indepen dence in Poland and the development of investigative journalism. The Ukrainian Media Fund established in 2022 after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is finan ced by a consortium of the Fund’s founding partners – the largest media organizations in Scandinavia. The Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation is an executive partner of the Fund, directing assistance to journalists in Ukraine through cooperation with Ukrainian associations of lo cal media.

Contrbutions by Gazeta Wyborcza’s Readers

2019 PLN 134,562

2020 PLN 61,050

2021 PLN 175,435

2022 PLN 167,440

Ukrainian Fund – contributions by international Fund partners in 2022

EUR 606 894

KR 1 003 896

USD 25 975

Total in PLN 2 413 713


Summary of the costs of Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation’s projects. Years 2019-2022

Project Cost Koszt

Ukrainian Media Fund PLN 1,729,994

Local Journalism Initiative PLN 119,331

Investigative Journalism Initiative PLN 1,056,937

Tenderness and Freedom PLN 3,283,680

The Editors’ School PLN 156,816

News from Poland PLN 317,446

Krzysztof Miller Award PLN 107,000 PLN 6,771,204

The Foundation’s detailed financial statements are available on:

Piotr Stasiński – media advisor to the Foundation

Agnieszka Bichler – administration

Jakub Kibitlewski – project and editorial coordination

Danuta Kowalska-Molak – finance

Daniela Werbeniec – project coordination (until July 2022)

Miłosz Wiatrowski – project and editorial coordination

Legal services: Tomasz Kapliński’s Law Office

Promotion: Pacyfika

66 Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation ul. Czerska 8/10, 00-732 Warsaw, Poland Account number PLN PL92 1090 1056 0000 0001 5001 0538 USD PL73 1090 1056 0000 0001 5001 0589 EUR PL29 1090 1056 0000 0001 5001 0605 BIC/SWIFT: WBKPPLPP NIP (tax identification number) PL5213848739  KRS (number in the National Court Register) 0000760539  REGON (business statistical number) 381945231