During the last session of the fall session on Saturday, the parliament gave its initial backing to the amendments to the Alcohol Control Law proposed by 10 conservative MPs that would allow an exception for foreign-language imported publications published by legal entities registered abroad.
The amendments will be considered further in spring. A government’s conclusion has also been requested for the motion.
“It is a violation of consumer expectations to receive a proper product,” conservative MP Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė said in her presentation of the bill.
Mykolas Majauskas, member of the parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee, noted that the alcohol ban in Lithuania could lead to a rise in Russian publications, as Russia has an analogous ban on advertisement of alcoholic beverages.
After a blanket alcohol advertising ban came into force in Lithuania on Jan. 1, foreign magazines with removed or covered up alcohol ads appeared on the shelves of stores. Distributors said they did not want to risks being slapped with a fine for alcohol advertising.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the full ban on alcohol advertisement was a shame for Lithuania over the fact that distributors of foreign publications are forced to rip out pages with alcohol ads or conceal them in other ways.
Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has suggested that the distributors should not remove the alcohol ads published in foreign magazines.
Vigintas Bartasevičius, CEO of Press Express, Lithuania’s biggest distributor of foreign magazines, has told BNS that all alcohol ad-containing pages of publications supplied to stores and subscribers were being torn off or such ads are blackened out, or stickers are placed on them.