Brussels authorities noted that a few of the channel’s broadcasts had threatened a few countries, including the Baltic states, with occupation and war, therefore, the Lithuanian move to ban the broadcasts for three months was proportional and well-grounded.
Last November, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) banned the broadcasts after establishing three counts of violations. The latest was in Vladimir Solovyov‘s talk show Duel broadcast on October 6.
The commission quoted Vladimir Zhirinovsky, notorious for his radical nationalist statements, as saying during the program, “Our response is to cool down those who are planning an attack on our country. There are such plans: in writing, stamped and signed, and voiced by all US presidents. I am not the president of our country, but I am telling you that you, well, not you, because you are from Romania and things are bad for you too, but if you (…), nothing will remain of Romania either. And in the Check Republic (…), and in Poland and the Baltic countries, if American tanks come to our borders, they will not retreat anywhere, they will not go back. (They) will burn with all of their crew.”
The Lithuanian watchdog regard e this statement by the Russian politician as an incitement to war and ethnic hatred and contempt, and an encouragement of the use of violence and physical force against the US, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Baltic countries.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry then dismissed the ban as “censorship of the information space.”
After Russian annexation of the Crimea region, LRTK has restricted broadcasts of four Russian-language channels in Lithuania.