Lithuania halts broadcasting of Russian TV channel for 3 months

The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) says that it is imposing the sanction, which will take effect next Monday and run through Feb. 21, after registering violations for the third time in a year.

According to the LRTK, the latest violation was in Vladimir Solovyov’s talk show Duel broadcast on Oct. 6.

The commission quoted Vladimir Zhirinovsky 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 regards 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.

According to the commission, the program also spread misinformation and incited discord and hatred between nations, and sought to convince viewers that only Russia was right.

Critics say that one cannot fight Russian propaganda by imposing bans or censorship as such measures may run counter to the Western understanding of the freedom of expression.

However, proponents argue that Moscow’s propaganda is a powerful tool that can mobilize ethnic minorities who distrust the state and feel nostalgic for the Soviet era.

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