Lithuanian foreign minister: We should be more active in information field

Linas Linkevičius
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“We want our activities in the information field to be more active and pro-active, not a defence and explanations of the nonsense and lies that are being disseminated. The position is always a little defensive,” the minister told the Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday morning in comment of the recent call to the European Commission to work out a plan for fighting Russian propaganda.

In Linkevičius’ words, the issue should be on the agenda of the meeting of EU ministers on 19 January.

The minister emphasized that it is not about censorship but, instead, about alternative sources of information.

“We do not want censorship, a ban or a proposed ban. We want citizens – this is especially relevant for the Russian-speaking population, which is mainly fed the information from Russian state-controlled channels – to have more alternatives and we also want liability for lies,” the Lithuanian diplomacy chief said.

Last week, the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Great Britain, Denmark and Estonia sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with a request to provide “credible and competitive information alternatives to Russian-speaking populations and those using Russia’s state-controlled media”.

The four diplomats called for a web-based platform that would provide information about the propaganda lies and manipulations, support initiatives to create Russian-language television channels, Internet portals, radio programmes and print media, encourage exchange of production within the EU and propose the production to the existing Russian media.

Russia, in its turn, criticized the initiative.

“We’ve always taken a positive position on the freedom of speech. But the EU plans for creating a kind of counter-propaganda channel can hardly correspond to the concept of freedom of speech,” Russian Foreign Vice-Minister Alexey Meshkov said.

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