Inspector of Journalist Ethics Issues Warning for Degrading LGL Employee’s Honor and Dignity

On 30th June, 2017 Gražina Ramanauskaitė-Tiumenevienė, Inspector of Journalist Ethics of the Republic of Lithuania, reached a decision on a complaint lodged by Eglė Kuktoraitė, Communications Coordinator of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL. The Inspector issued promoter (disseminator) Laurynas Ragelskis a warning for the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public of the Republic of Lithuania violations in his publication “Get to know the skinhead faggots!” (lit. Susipažinkite – skustagalviai pederastai!) (, 17-01-2017) and on his public “Facebook“ profile (, 19-01-2017). It has been determined that the content published was libelous, abusive, and degrading to the LGL employee’s honor and dignity.

On 24th January, 2017 LGL’s Communications Coordinator appealed to the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics of the Republic of Lithuania over content attacking her honor and dignity and violating her right to privacy. The complaint alleged that the publication “Get to know the skinhead faggots!” used her photo taken from the website without her permission, while the article’s summary “Get to know yet another kosher-faced skinhead faggot saving Lithuania from homophobia” (lit. “Susipažinkite: dar viena košerinės fizionomijos Lietuvos saugotoja nuo gomofobijos – skustagalvė pederastė <…>“) has obvious xenophobic and homophobic motives. The applicant noted that such a headline promotes discrimination on the grounds of alleged belonging to certain national minorities and sexual orientations. The complaint states that in the publication, a slur (“pederastas”, which additionally implies pedophilia) is used to mean “gay”. The applicant also asserted that the disseminator of the content, through such actions, sought to degrade LGBT* community members.

The Inspector of Journalist Ethics stated that the published content reveals a subjective and derogatory attitude toward the applicant, as evidenced by disdainful, morally and socially unacceptable vocabulary such as that quoted above. The statements could also be interpreted as tantamount to mocking the applicant’s physical appearance and professional activities. It was determined that the disseminator of this content, without the applicant’s consent and in no public interest, exceeded the limits of her freedom of expression by publishing her photo. The publication’s description of the applicant was determined to undermine her honor and dignity, while violating principles of ethical expression as well as respect for the individual. The Inspector recommended that the disseminator, in content intended for the public, use terms such as “gay” (lit. “gėjus“) or “homosexual individual” (lit. “homoseksualus asmuo“).

The European Court of Human Rights maintains that in a democratic society, the dissemination of public information must adhere to principles of respect for other individuals and their rights, avoiding abusive methods. Thus, restrictions on the right to disseminate public information are determined by their relationship with other legal principles – individual honor and dignity (as well as professional reputation), and the right to protection of private life.