Lithuanian Seimas committee okays president’s bill on propaganda

After the committee’s decision, the amendments to the Law on Provision of Information to the Public should go to Seimas plenary on Thursday next week, the committee’s chairperson Audronė Pitrėnienė said.

The main new thing in the amendments emphasized by the President’s Office are the penalties stipulated for both broadcasting and rebroadcasting companies for war propaganda, calls to change the constitutional order or attacks on a country’s sovereignty.

According to the amendments, the fines for broadcasters and rebroadcasters may amount up to 3 percent of their annual revenue. Grybauskaitė said the new measures are needed, as “Lithuania is currently living under conditions of information war”.

The bill also envisages that media companies that published war propaganda or calls to change the Constitutional order would not be eligible for state funding for one year; furthermore, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission would be able to take faster measures against such companies.

According to the explanatory note, the Russian TV broadcasts that include propaganda have an audience of 400,000 Lithuanian residents, which makes about 15 percent of the country’s population.

The Lithuanian parliament is currently discussing the second version of the amendments after voting down earlier president-proposed changes last year. The amendments suggested reducing the amount of Russian-made broadcasts.

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