Freedom of speech, discipline or something else?

by Krzysztof Turowski

Wirtualna Polska talks about war among hunters. Everything after the storm caused by the letter from Polish Hunting Association, which received District Offices as a reaction to the program called Alarm in TVP (Polish TV).
The content of the magazine is clear and legible. District authorities of Polish Hunting Association is asked for sensitization of ourhunters to limit the activities of making films and photographs public with scenes from hunting because these are often not a hunting promotion and often have the opposite effect. In addition,it asks for compliance with the hunting law regarding the participation of children in hunting, and asks us to remind that interviews in the media where hunting topics (and hunting itselfs) are raised  should be consulted and agreed with regional administrations.

Apparently everything is clear, but already on the same day, slogans like “returning to communism” appeared in our hunting groups. How is it – censorship or something else?
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I have the impression, that we only see two sides of the coin. One of them is the previously mentioned instruction letter. In the opinion of many, so much against the freedom of speech and the constitutional right to speak or raise children in accordance with their own views. There are words like “nobody can forbid me to publish my photos”, “I will do what I want”, “my facebook, my photos” and many other stronger ones which I will not mention here. The other side of the coin is the hunters saying – “someone says it aloud at last” or “We should limit our activity on the network because it does not go well for us”. There are also those who need an accurate explanation of what the words “scenes from hunting” mean.

We are sitting on forums, we are discussing what is the scene of hunting and what is not, what can and what is not allowed. We discuss and argue by creating two groups – those for and against, not noticing that there is a third group.

The third group that rubs hands and loudly says that they managed what they had planned. They see that their anti-hunting actions bring results. Maybe you can not see it at first glance, but we’re under fire. I do not hesitate to say anything about anti-hunting fashion and the war against hunting.
Today if someone wants to be known, he is engages in attacks on hunting. No viewership – let’s record an anti-hunting program. We will ask questions for which there is no good answer. Just one key phrase will say “what do you feel when you shoot” and there are no strong ones, because no one is able to answer this question in such a way that the statement does not turn against him. Everyone will fail – from a young hunter to an experienced hunter with several decades of experience.

Ask why? Because such questions are asked in interviews with serial killers sitting many years behind the bars, in the hearing rooms during high-profile murder trials, or in American films. Such questions are asked to murderers, and media want to compare hunters to such people from the very beginning. It does not matter that the vast majority eats meat, has a mousetrap in the basement, gets rid of the ants with poison, or uses a flypaper. Their editor will not ask what they feel including the mosquito remedy for the night. He will ask the hunter for what he feels during the hunt, because just such a question guarantees watchfulness, attention of the viewer and puts us in a very bad light. In addition, there are a few scenes from hunting or gutting which we published in the network, add to this contrite conversion and brick success. Do not be surprised, then, that there is someone who wants to limit this by seeing that in such conversations we simply have no chance.

It is not censorship, it’s the reaction to the difficult situation in which hunting was found. Polish Hunting Association does not say that we are not allowed to speak in the media, they reminds us of the need to consult such statements with the authorities, and these are two different things.

By the way, have you ever spoken publicly about the place where you work? Every major company has a marketing department, public relations, or a press spokesman, and they decide who, where and when. I remember, as part of the company in which I work, I wrote an article for one of the programming portals. The article was passed both by the hands of my supervisor and the marketing department because I wrote on behalf of my company. Why should it be different in the PZŁ(Polish Hunting Association)? If I speak in the press and talk about the relationship, do not let me wonder if the union wants to know about it and decide if I should.
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Regarding the participation of children in hunting – well, “Dura lex sed lex” – hard law, but law. Many people regret about these changes, we want to change this and the case is waiting for a decision in the Constitutional Tribunal. Until then, let us keep in mind that if we do not respect this law, it will turn against us. It’s sad, but until we explain this situation, we can do nothing else, unless we want to give the media another opportunity for the next loud article.

Remember that we are attacked from many sides. This is no longer a group of pseudoecologists and activists. We have been busted against us by press and television, and only by speaking in one reasonable voice can we survive. Do not let us divide. Let’s do not give reasons to anti-hunters. This letter is not an attack on us, but a way to protect what we have. Because, after all, we still have a lot to lose. And if you do not know if your hunting picture promotes hunting, maybe it is better not to publish it at all?

At the end I wanted to quote something that each of us should always have at the back of our heads. The following text should always guide us when we want to go hunting, publish a photo on the web, or even talking about hunting with friends. You know it very well, because each of us said these words:

Joining the group of Polish hunters, I solemnly pledges:
– respect thoroughly hunting rights,
– follow the rules of hunting ethics,
– keep the traditions of Polish hunting,
– protect native nature,
– take care of the good name of hunting and the dignity of the Polish hunter.

Happy Hunting!

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