The Polish essayist and publicist Adam Michnik, born in 1946, who has received several awards for journalistic merits, has been editor-in-chief of the major liberal Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza for many years, which he co-founded in 1989. Michnik is one of the most influential intellectuals in Eastern Europe. As a student he was one of the activists of the Polish 1968 movement, in 1976 he co-founded the Committee for the Defence of Workers KOR, he has worked as an editor of underground magazines, was a leading advisor to the Solidarność trade union. In May 1989, Michnik founded Gazeta Wyborcza (German: “Election Newspaper”) on behalf of Solidarność leader Lech Walesa as a paper for the election campaign of Walesa’s Civic Committee. Gazeta Wyborcza was thus the first independent daily newspaper in Eastern Europe even before the democratic upheavals in the Warsaw Pact. Today, Gazeta Wyborcza is Poland’s most important quality newspaper.
After 1989, Michnik was a member of parliament for a year, supported Wale’s opponent in the 1990 presidential election, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, then withdrew from politics after his defeat and the disintegration of the Civic Committee. Since then, Michnik has worked mainly as a publicist and editor-in-chief of Gazeta.
As the son of Jewish parents who were active in the Polish communist movement before the Second World War, Michnik experienced a climate of repression and anti-Semitism as a student: in 1968 he was expelled from the university, and numerous critical intellectuals of Jewish origin were forced to leave the country at that time.
In terms of journalism, Michnik has recently found a broad echo in Eastern Europe, among other things with his Dialogues with the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, published as a book in 2015.
Michnik is the author of essays and commentaries in The New York Review of Books,Lettre Internationale, The Washington Post, among others.
Adam Michnik has received numerous awards in Europe and the USA, including the OSCE Prize for Journalism and Democracy in 1996. He is one of the International Press Institute’s “50 Heroes of Press Freedom”, based in Vienna.