baltics / censorship / europe / legislation / lithuania

LGBT group protests censorship in Lithuania

This morning the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) staged a protest against censorship as European officials gathered to attend an informal meeting of the European Union’s Ministers for Culture and Audiovisual Affairs. Lithuania currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of Europe.

The LGL expressed its opposition to restrictions on freedom of expression imposed by the LIthuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. The LGL claims the law imposes limits on what gay rights group are permitted to promote in the public media.

According to Lithuania’s leading national daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas, “there have been more instances recently when Lithuanian television channels and internet news portals have limited information about homosexuality, sexual identity and family diversity, classifying [such information] as detrimental to minors.”

The newspaper noted, however, that “hate speech voiced publicly by politicians has not attracted the attention of media watchdogs.”

Paid video advertisements prepared by the LGL in advance of the Baltic Pride March for Equality in July of this year were deemed by journalism ethics experts to be harmful material under the Detrimental Effects law.  While private television channels aired the ads without restraint, state-run Lithuanian Television and Radio limited broadcasts to late evening hours.

In other Lithuanian news today, a temporary parliamentary committee voted to allow charges to proceed against MP Petras Gražulis for provoking conflict and disrupting public order during this year’s Baltic Pride march. Gražulis was detained during the parade when he attempted to cross a police line set up to protect marchers against anti-LGBT protestors.

The committee voted 6 to 5 to recommend lifting Gražulis’ parliamentary immunity so that prosecutors could initiate administrative action against the lawmaker.  The measure now goes to the full Seimas (Parliament) for consideration.  Gražulis is the leader of the Order and Justice Party delegation in parliament.

(Sources: LGL, Lietuvos rytas, photo: 15min.lt)

 

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