Lithuanian proposals to ‘criminalize disinformation’ go out to consultation

Lithuania's parliament - the Seimas
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

Arturas Paulauskas, the committee’s chairman, said that requests have been sent out to legal experts for their opinions on the proposals.

“We have sent out (draft amendments) to law schools and universities. We will get back to the package in the fall” he said.
Critics of the proposed regulation say that it is reminiscent of Soviet times and may restrict the freedom of expression.

The State Security Department (VSD) unveiled its proposal to criminalize disinformation in its annual report earlier this year. The intelligence body later presented draft amendments aimed at “stepping up information security” to the Seimas committee.

The VSD proposes to add disinformation and sabotage provisions to an article in the Lithuanian Criminal Code that provides for punishment for “public incitement to infringe on Lithuania’s sovereignty by using violence”.

Other articles of the code impose criminal liability for incitement to hatred, defamation and denial or gross trivialization of crimes committed by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

Disinformation, according to the agency, would be defined as “false information made public with the intent of harming Lithuania’s national interests or destabilizing the situation in the country”.

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