Poland puts sex offenders in the pillory

Poland published data about convicted sex offenders online at the start of the year. A database provides the name, information about the place of birth and whereabouts and photos of roughly 800 offenders. Commentators discuss whether such a database should be made public.

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taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Populism instead of basic rights

The sex offenders database doesn't offer adequate protection against sexual violence, taz criticises:

“There can be no one-hundred-percent protection against sex offences, even once you've put convicted offenders in the online pillory. And even these people are entitled to their personal rights and protection of their private sphere. These very rights, however, are exactly what Poland is now tossing overboard. Because how safe is such sensitive data once it's been posted online? What's more, the database also has a second, public section in which 800 offenders are identified by name, address and photo. The hunting season is now open on them. That is anything but humane. ... You can't get rid of violence by destroying a couple of offenders. Prevention and education are more important. But the Polish PiS government seems to care about nothing but the populist impact.”

Do Rzeczy (PL) /

No sympathy for perpetrators!

Do Rzeczy, by contrast, argues that the database is a good means of prevention:

“When the justice ministry announced that it was making a database of paedophiles accessible to the public many voices were raised in outrage saying that this measure was a double punishment that could drive these people to commit suicide. This is hardly surprising, because for many years now we have adopted the perspective of the perpetrators rather than that of the victims in this debate. ... But only a short time after the database was put online, parents at a Polish cultural centre discovered a paedophile working there. This is the best proof that such instruments are needed and that they are effective.”