29 May 2020 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 14 Nov 2018 n° 126/2018 Lithuania
Threats to the Independence of the Lithuanian LRT
Following the report, issued on 12 October 2018, of an ad hoc Parliamentary Commission set up in January 2018 to investigate Lithuanian National Radio and Television’s (LRT) financial and economic activities, the Lithuanian Parliament is considering legal amendments in order to regulate the governance and supervision of LRT. The establishment of this Parliamentary Commission has been contested at the Constitutional Court and the case is still pending. Some proposals currently under discussion suggest establishing an additional supervisory authority and changing the appointment of LRT Council members. According to the Lithuanian Union of Journalists, the chairman of LRT Council Liudvikas Gadeikis and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), some of the suggested amendments will impose political control on LRT and will endanger the independence of the Lithuanian public broadcaster.
New 29 May 2020: On 26 March 2020, taking into consideration the provisions set out in the Law amending the Law on the National Radio and Television, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be “resolved”, concluding it is no longer an active threat to media freedom.
New 29 May 2020
On 7 May 2020, the Seimas (Parliament) passed Law No. XIII-2929 to amend the Law on the National Radio and Television, without reflecting initial proposals to: establish LRT Ombudsmen to control the management and content; change the rules of appointment to the LRT Council and the term of office to coincide with the Seimas legislature; amend the rules of appointment to the LRT Board. The passed Law upholds the LRT Council as the highest body, in charge of management and supervision, and representing the public interest. It establishes Committees on Audit and Risk Management, Procurement and Investment Policy, and Content. It also establishes an Ethics Officer, appointed by the LRT Council, to supervise compliance with the code of ethics and decide upon any submitted complaints. Members of the LRT Council who are affiliated with a political party will have to suspend their membership. The passed Law prohibits political advertisement on the website and commercial and similar communications on radio and television. It is due to enter into force on 1 January 2021.
- Joint letter from ECPMF and EFJ: "Demand to guarantee the full independence of LRT"
- Statement from the European Federation of Journalists: "Lithuania: EFJ urges Parliament to guarantee LRT independence"
- Mapping Media Freedom report: "Lithuania: Ruling party's proposals raise fears over independence of public broadcaster"
- EBU Statement: "EBU concerned about proposed legal changes in LRT governance"
- Statement from Liudvikas Gadeikis, Chairman of the LRT Council: "The LRT Council on the threat for the independence of the Lithuanian National Radio and Television"
- EBU statement : "EBU calls on Lithuanian authorities to ensure LRT's independence"
- Letter by the LRT Director General
08 Jan 2019
Response of the Government of Lithuania