International organizations invited to observe parliamentary scrutiny of Lithuania public broadcaster

Arvydas Nekrošius, their chairman, says that international observers’ participation in the commission’s meetings “would prevent various manipulations (and) allegations that the commission wants to interfere with the content of LRT programs”.

The invitations have been sent to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontieres.

Radka Betcheva, the head of member relations for Eastern Europe at the EBU, said earlier this month that the parliamentary scrutiny of LRT activities might undermine the independence of the public broadcaster.

She said that the Seimas commission might put political pressure on LRT, adding that a specialized body should ensure the public broadcaster’s accountability.

The Seimas established the ad hoc commission in late December to look at whether the public broadcaster rationally spends budget money. The parliament set June 1 as a deadline for completing the probe.

Critics describe the establishment of the commission as an effort to put pressure on the media and take revenge on journalists for putting uncomfortable questions to the ruling party.

The initiators of the commission underline that it will only scrutinize LRT’s finances.

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