The government allowed journalists to receive Centre of Registers data for free. How brilliant. The news media obtained what it already had. That which the government of the “bottoms” wanted to, but was unable to seize, Ramunė Sotvarė-Šemetienė writes on lrt.lt.
It received what, for example, Ukraine has had for several years. A state, which is not a member of the European Union, is surrounded by oligarchs, exhausted by corruption and dreaming to become like Lithuania has opened its registers for all.
Not just journalists, but anyone can access information about a president’s, businessman’s or neighbour’s registered property freely and free of charge. They can find a business final owner, data about every deal made with state funds.
And not only. More than two million electronic declarations are on the table for the public. Anyone can see all income and property charts. The entirety, not just part or excerpt.
No charges. The only limitation being your own ability to browse because a serious search requires knowledge.
For Ukrainians, who we view as teachers would, this is already part of daily life. For us it’s only part reality. Seemingly there, but not quite. And only for journalists, as if a privilege, not a right.
Fearing for itself, our government yielded the right for certain data as if with a shaking hand. At first, until it changes those eight laws, like a bribe. For 30 thousand euro a month from the budget. This is the sum that Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and his team have valued their own benevolence. Just look, what size your privilege is. Why not for 50 or 100 thousand?
What’s more – you have to earn this privilege. Only flawless reputation news media will be able to use it. What is that? This will be regulated by the government and its assistants. If they wish to identify you among those with serious professional ethic breaches, so they will.
That’s not all. If the owner of a controlling stock package had problems with law enforcement, if the distributors of information, their heads, board members and others have been prosecuted, journalists working there will not receive access.
Prior to throwing a bone, our government will first investigate, who has been good and who has been bad. And only then they will allow a glimpse of their most sacred place – their wealth register.
Perhaps they will form another commission. Alongside those that are investigating the crisis with Ingrida Šimonytė or are investigating illegal influence on political processes during prior governments.
In fact, if past politicians and political processes are being investigating, the public broadcaster, which has loosed itself, it is somehow uncomfortable that this whole group does not include commercial news media.
All governments and cabinets pass three stages during a term. First there is the euphoria you get when you realise how much real power fate has accidentally granted. Afterward – the midterm crisis and finally – understanding that everything turned into nothing.
It may appear that the last point is the hardest, when you fall into the free market from your office and find the fruits nurtured during your term.
But that’s just what is seems. The most stupidity is found in the midterm crisis, which is similar to the middle age crisis.
Efforts to rough up the news media in various ways, it is as if an instinctive, but sequential convulsion after understanding that the rosy period has ended.
The series of nonsenses have lined up nicely. Doctors, teachers, gardeners, abstinents, dog breeders and even kindergarteners – they are knocking on doors, recording, do not respect, do not listen. And no longer believe.
Prime Minister S. Skvernelis and Ramūnas Karbauskis‘ duo’s games and schemes have become clear. Just like their line of thinking.
We have a majority of fairly primitive personalities in power. Their understanding of public life and its government end with a bottle of vodka, a store with its prices and with a small plot of land.
With every day and new announcement, the feeling increases that we have elected a paranoid team of traffic controllers, which believes that it is control, fines and prohibitions that bring us to a brighter tomorrow.
They simply could not grasp granting free access to data for everyone. It is too difficult to comprehend that it frees hands for investigators and analysts, creates premises for new businesses, when money is earned and returns to the budget from the other side. Finally, such decisions create the feeling of comfortable being in the country.
Western states and not only they are turning this way. But not Lithuania. Not quite yet.