“Perhaps the right thing to do now is to back the veto and ease the tension and then ask the government to come up with proposals of how to regulate this in the Civil Code so that journalists should have no doubt that nobody wants to stifle free speech and stop criticism and that politicians should know that they have a way to protect their rights, too,” he told BNS on Monday.
Grybauskaite earlier in the day vetoed the amendments, which she said made it possible to “persecute not only journalists, but also every person of Lithuania for a critical opinion about a public figure, the government and politicians.”
The president consulted lawyers and representatives of the media before making the decision to veto the amendments.
The Seimas adopted the amendments on December 8, saying that with the insult being removed from the Penal Code, it has to be punishable by civil liability. The media criticized the parliament for removing from the Civil Code a provision exempting a person from civil liability for spreading false information about a public figure if that person proves that he or she acted in good faith with the aim of informing the general public.