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Journalists rally for press freedom in Lithuania

  • 2013-11-11
  • From wire reports, VILNIUS

Dozens of journalists have rallied outside the Lithuanian Special Investigation Service (SIS) building on Nov. 11 calling for better press freedom in the country.

It follows after members of SIS raided the Baltic News Service office in Vilnius on Nov. 7 over allegations that journalists had gained access to a leaked document showing evidence of smear campaign against Lithaunian President, Dalia Grybauskaite.

Six journalists were questioned, computers were confiscated whilst the BNS editors home was also searched.

A Lithuanian court ordered the  BNS news agency to reveal the source of a report that Russia is trying to dig up damaging information against the country's president, reports Reuters.

BNS said its information was based on a Lithuanian secret service report saying the move was in retaliation for the Baltic country's foreign and energy policies, and for its part in promoting a free trade and association deal to be signed between Ukraine and the European Union in Vilnius later this month.

BNS have refused to comply with the court order.

President Grybauskaite, meanwhile, met with the head of SIS, Žydrūnas Bartkus, to call for better press freedom.

She said: "Free media is one of the safeguards of a democratic state. Therefore, the right and the obligation of journalists to provide information to the public cannot be restricted. Freedom of the press must be respected and ensured," the President said.

She noted that the Special Investigation Service of the Republic of Lithuania must perform an official inspection to find out whether the rights of journalists have not been infringed while conducting investigation.

 

Grybauskaite is set to meet with public information providers to discuss  strengthening legal protection of freedom of the media and of journalists.