This dispatch is based on information arriving from Poland:
Polish authorities have instituted a process of "ideological verification" of Polish journalists, many of whom had been active in the Solidarity trade union movement prior to the declaration of martial law.
The first newspaper to reopen following the completed process--in which a panel questions journalists on their activities and beliefs concerning Solidarity and the martial-law situation--is Kurier Polski. This organ of the small, Communist-allied Democratic Party appeared on newsstands Thursday for the first time since martial law was declared Dec. 13.
Reliable sources said that of the 50 members of the pre-martial law staff, 30 originally were fired and 12 more were told they had to "rethink" their positions. The skeleton staff remaining was found to be insufficient to put out the paper, and some were rehired.
As described by a Kurier Polski staffer, the journalists were subjected to a 45-minute interrogation by a panel that included representatives of the Democratic Party, the Communist Party press section, the military and the internal-security apparatus.
The questions asked included the following:
How do you assess Solidarity?
How do you assess the events of Dec. 13?
What do you think of Radom? This refers to a meeting of Solidarity's leadership, apparently bugged by authorities. The tapes of it were played by the national media in the days just before martial law in an effort to discredit the union.
Could confrontation have been avoided?
Should a journalist just inform his readers, or shape their opinions?
The newspaper's editor was reported to have refused to sign a pledge of loyalty or to participate in the grilling of his staff. The status of the editor, who was elected to his position by the staff shortly after Solidarity emerged from nationwide strikes in the summer of 1980, is now unclear.
According to Polish journalists, the editor of a newspaper normally is expected to participate in the verification process as a member of the panel, but an exception is to be made in the case of Polityka, the influential party weekly edited by Deputy Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski. Sources said Rakowski alone would screen his staff, a privilege that he was said to have won against the wishes of Stefan Olszowski, the Communist Party's hard-line propaganda chief.
The process of verification has been used in past times of tension, such as when students staged antigovernment demonstrations in 1968, to purge people considered politically unreliable from key public institutions.
Other forms of harassment against Solidarity members and sympathizers also are being used. In some ministries and offices, according to Polish sources, people are being told they must either give up their association with Solidarity or lose their jobs. They reportedly are forced to sign statements renouncing their former activities, with some having been denied promotions or having lost privileges as punishment.