2019.04.18 07:58

Lithuanian watchdog puts off decision on sanctioning Russian channel

Ignas Jačauskas, BNS 2019.04.18 07:58

The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) has for the second time postponed its decision on imposing restrictions on Rossiya 24 as the company tries to prove that the Russian-language TV channel is broadcast from the European Union.

LRTK Chairman Mantas Martišius told BNS that the channel had provided documents proving that it is based in France, an EU member country, which would require applying longer procedures to evaluate violations.

“We don't have such data, but the document they provided is signed by the CEO of a French company that transmits the signal to the satellite, saying that we do that. If that is true, it would be considered a French channel,” he said.

The watchdog has data showing that the channel is registered in Russia and owned by All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), which, as claimed, has a contract with the French company.

“We have asked VGTRK where Rossiya 24 is licensed. They are to do so on May 6 and we are to make our decision on May 8,” Martišius said.

The commission considers imposing restrictions on Rossiya 24 broadcasts due to incitement to hatred in the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov show which aired in late November.

In the show, Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky called for starting a nuclear war and “annihilating the West”.

Under national and European legislation, there are different procedures for TV channels registered in the EU and in third countries. If a TV channel is registered outside the EU, simpler rules apply and the LRTK can make swifter decisions on broadcasting restrictions.

Lithuania has in the past subjected several Russian TV channels to the maximum possible one-year rebroadcasting restrictions for hate speech and incitement to war.