The Lithuanian government responded to our concerns about the proposed amendments for the law on the country’s public broadcaster.

In January, we wrote to the Lithuanian parliament to express our concerns about a law that could put the independence of the country’s public service broadcaster at risk.

Proposals to change the existing law on Lithuanian public broadcaster – LRT – were approved for debate in a vote on 11th January 2019 by Lithuania’s Parliament (Seimas).

The new draft legislation proposes significant changes to the broadcaster’s structure and its governance, including the appointment of a ‘Board’ and Ombudsman. However, these changes come without clear specification as to how they would be implemented and without a guarantee that they would be applied respecting the autonomy and independence of the public broadcaster.

We wrote a letter to Lithuania’s Prime Minister and several other government officials, to voice our concerns and to ask them to guarantee the independence and freedom of LRT.

On Wednesday, 30th January, Lithuania’s Prime Minister came back to us with a letter, ensuring his “commitment to protecting and promoting fundamental human rights and freedoms, including the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution.”

He also ascertained that members of the journalist community and non-governmental organisations will be involved and consulted to achieve the goals of any amendments to the broadcaster.

PMA will keep on monitoring and reporting on the developments regarding LRT but welcomes the letter and assurance from the Prime Minister, which can be read below.

Lithuania’s Chancellor of the Government response to PMA letter

Image credits: Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT)