LRT protests frozen bank accounts

  • 2000-10-26
VILNIUS (BNS) - Lithuania's public broadcasting company, the National Radio and Television or LRT, has announced its plans to sue the state and address international media organizations concerning the recent arrest of its bank accounts.

LRT Director General Vaidotas Zukas said in a press release on Oct. 18 that "the arrest of LRT bank accounts and the government's passiveness has constituted a serious threat that broadcasts on three Lithuanian radio stations and one television channel would cease in the coming days."

The LRT council, which includes delegates of the president, parliamentary factions and public organizations, and the firm's administration has "taken all diplomatic steps and is now forced to take extreme measures: the council intends to bring a lawsuit against the Parliament and the government, and the administration will take the issue to European and world media organizations," said Zukas.

Two LRT bank accounts were put under arrest on Oct. 16 due to excessive debts to the Radio and Television Center which is LRT's broadcasting company.

The budgetary and commercial accounts in the state-owned savings bank Lietuvos Taupomasis Bankas were seized for a debt of 1.8 million litas ($450,000) and the Siauliu Bankas for 217,000 litas debt.

One account in Vilniaus Bankas has not been arrested. The LRT debt to the center on Oct. 1 totaled 2.95 million litas.

The Radio and Television Center resumed its sanctions against the LRT after it failed to meet its engagement to transfer 720,000 litas for broadcasting services on a monthly basis.

"These sanctions are preventing LRT from carrying out its tasks stipulated in the law, including all economic financial activities," Zukas said on Oct. 24.

The debt-laden LRT has made repeated applications to the government for financial assistance. It owes a total of approximately 15 million litas to a number of creditors.