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2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuanian Parliament voted in favour of the anti-propaganda bill

Algirdas Acus2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuanian Parliament backed the amendments to the Law on Provision of Information to the Public, as drafted by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, to make it easier to control TV channels spreading hostile propaganda against Lithuanian constitutional order or instigating war. 79 lawmakers voted in favour, 4 against and 27 abstained.

Lithuanian Parliament backed the amendments to the Law on Provision of Information to the Public, as drafted by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, to make it easier to control TV channels spreading hostile propaganda against Lithuanian constitutional order or instigating war. 79 lawmakers voted in favour, 4 against and 27 abstained.

Before passing the amendments, there were legal loopholes that provided opportunities for foreign TV channels to avoid any punishments, for example, if a TV channel is re-broadcasted and re-broadcaster is formally registered abroad.

Now the law will regulate broadcasters and re-broadcasters, no matter where they are formally registered. There is also a clause that foresees fines up to 3 percent of a broadcaster's annual income.

Furthermore, the Radio and Television Commission will have more powers to take swift actions against the companies spreading hostile propaganda.

The amendments will come into force on 1st October.

The bill has an explanatory note saying that Russian TV broadcasts containing propaganda have an audience of 400 thousand in Lithuania that makes up to about 15 percent of the country's population.

Lithuania has recently become the first EU country to temporarily suspend broadcasting of a Russian TV channel RTR Planeta, in a move that sparked some controversy.

SHOTLIST

Vs from Parliament

Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė announces positive result of the vote

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

VYTAUTAS MATULEVIČIUS, MP:
Truly it is hard to believe that RTR Planeta descended to such black propaganda. However, when I see an empty air on television in a free, democratic state that suspends TV channel, this is basically inacceptable to me.

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

GINTARAS STEPONAVIČIUS, MP from Liberal Movement:
We are already late with an adequate reaction to the events inspired by Russian side. To call lies, disinformation, dull propaganda as it would be a freedom of expression or opinion, it is at least superficial and wrong attitude.

Parliamentarians leave after the vote

Soundbite (Lithuanian)

AUDRONĖ PITRENIENĖ, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science:
Before adopting the amendments, if a re-broadcaster was registered in some other European state, let's say Sweden, our legislation did not apply to them. From now on, it will apply to all. Is it bad?
 

Soundbite (Lithuanian)