News

2015.09.08 13:45

Lithuanian parliament rejects president's bill to limit Russian TV broadcast

The Lithuanian parliament rejected amendments to the Law on Public Information, drafted by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, aimed at limiting rebroadcasts of Russian TV production in the country.

The Lithuanian parliament rejected amendments to the Law on Public Information, drafted by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, aimed at limiting rebroadcasts of Russian TV production in the country.

The amendment was put for vote on Tuesday. Thirty-three MPs voted in favour, 13 voted against while 49 abstained. This was not enough for the bill to pass the first hearing. After a second vote the bill was returned for revision.

The bill was mostly supported by the conservative Homeland Union MPs and several liberals, while most members of the ruling centre-left majority abstained.

The president has suggested amending the Law on Public Information, stating that at least 90 percent of television programmes rebroadcast in Lithuania should be in the official languages of the European Union, except for special (thematic) packages.

In the president's words, the measures have been proposed "in the wake of increasingly frequent information attacks and hostile propaganda" from Russia. Russian TV production accounts for up to 30 percent of all programmes rebroadcast in Lithuania.

Under the proposed amendments, propagation and instigation of war, calls to undermine Lithuania's sovereignty and independence could lead to the suspension or termination of a broadcasting or rebroadcasting license as well as heavy fines by the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania. According to the President's Office, similar rules are in force in Germany, France, Slovenia and Malta.

Calls to change Lithuania's constitutional system by force, attempts to breach the country's independence and instigation of war could lead to a fine of up to 100,000 litas (almost EUR 29,000).