Growing censorship in Lithuania

  • 2014-08-25
  • By Kestutis Girnius, VILNIUS

In the next issue of TBT, political commentator Kestutis Girnius evaluates trends in Lithuanian media, trends that he considers to be very worrying. Here’s an early glimpse of what he writes:

On the road to censorship?

“Reacting to Moscow’s propaganda campaign, Lithuania has launched an aggressive counterattack.” But he warns that “The eager warriors of the information war have already harmed the quality of Lithuanian journalism…”

“Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite is playing a major role in the campaign, more than once urging Lithuanian journalists to step up to defend Lithuania’s interest and unmask Russian deception. Her own actions have ranged from silly comments to a disquieting tendency to emulate the Kremlin’s spin-masters.

Another excerpt: “A leading Internet portal has published an article of the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN claiming that the 2010 crash of the plane carrying Polish president Lech Kaczynski to Katyn was not an accident but a planned terrorist attack…”

“Although the story about Kaczynski is a particularly egregious case of malicious misinformation, the Lithuanian media is publishing many questionable, poorly sourced stories.

Girnius warns that: “Calls for censorship are gaining momentum. Plans are in the offing to ban Russian television channels from Lithuanian cable networks… More ominously, the Ministry of Culture is sponsoring a working group that will reviews laws and regulation to ‘ensure the right of citizens to objective information and ensure all age groups of safe, unharmful content.’

A worrying trend, indeed. Get Girnius’ full analysis in the next print edition of The Baltic Times, or read it online on Sept. 4.