2021.11.18 14:24

Lithuania to allow reporters access to border, reversing earlier policy

BNS2021.11.18 14:24

Media will be allowed to report from the Lithuanian border with Belarus, as the State Border Guard Service is reversing its previous policy of restricting access within one kilometre of the frontier.

Last week, the Lithuanian parliament declared a state of emergency in parts of the country in response to developments on the Belarus-EU border. Authorities then said that media and observers would not be allowed to come within one kilometre of the border, where Lithuanian officials have been turning away irregular migrants trying to cross into the country from Belarus.

“In the time of the hybrid war we are facing, border guards are the country's first shield. But during this war orchestrated by the Belarusian regime, we need to counter not only physical, but also informational attacks,” Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė said in a comment sent to BNS on Thursday.

“As we defend ourselves from these attacks, we need media forces and assistance very much, therefore, we are changing the existing working rules for reporters in the time of a state of emergency for our country and the global community to have the latest and most impartial information about the Belarusian regime's ongoing hybrid aggression when people are used as weapons. I do believe we will defend our state by working together,” she added.

The Interior Ministry said that reporters would still be required to stay 100 meters from the frontier and not to be on the patrol path used by service vehicles as well as on the footprint band.

The changes will come into force over the next working days, the ministry said.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

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