MP warns of Russian influence on Lithuanian expatriates

  • 2006-09-26
  • By TBT staff

WATCH MORE (LITHUANIAN) TV: An MP complained about Russian television's reach to Lithuanian expatriates in Ireland.

Lithuanian Conservative MP Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene told a press conference on Sept. 26, that a recent visit to Ireland had left her nervous about Russia's influence on Lithuanian expatriates.

Lithuanian people who live abroad see the world through the Kremlin's "window" she said. Without access to Lithuanian television, they watch stations controlled by official Russian authorities. Aleknaite-Abramikiene said she was most upset by the possible influence such television would have on children.
'It happens so that while children are at home, they are faced with two alternatives -- either to watch TV in English, or to watch some easily accessible free Russian TV channel,' she said. 'I was told that children at home start speaking a mixed lingo of several English words, quite a lot of words in Russian and a few words in Lithuanian.'

The director of the Lithuanian Radio and Television, Kestutis Petrauskis, said providing Lithuanians abroad with free Lithuanian television required an amendment to the LRT law as well as extra funding.
'For us to be able to broadcast abroad, the state has to amend the LRT law, which currently provides that the LRT may not have more than two channels, and some extra funding for that additional broadcasting must be provided as well' he told BNS.
A special channel for emigrants would cost 3 million litas (870,000 euros) each year.

'When I voiced the idea of broadcasting via a more powerful satellite, I was assaulted on grounds that it would be an additional burden on the state' the LRT's director said.
Petrauskis said Lithuanian emigrants can watch Lithuanian shows on Internet or cable television, which covers all of Europe except Spain and Ireland.