The Lithuanian Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics, an agency established under the supervision of the country’s Parliament, has ruled that the state-run Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) did not violate any laws when it decided to limit public broadcasting of two television ads promoting the Baltic Pride March for Equality in July, 2013. The Board of the state-run LRT decided to limit airing of the ads to late evening hours, presumably to fulfill obligations to limit the dissemination of ‘detrimental information’ according to the provisions of the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.
We believe that this decision creates a very dangerous precedent in qualifying LGBT*-related public information as “detrimental to the minors”, thus establishing the pattern of censorship and disproportionate interference with the exercise of the right to freedom of expression by the local LGBT* community. LGL is ready to challenge these striking developments through the strategic litigation process before the national laws. With this law suit we want to remind Lithuanian authorities that freedom of expression is a fundamental right and a pillar of any democratic society. Limitations to this right must respond to strict criteria, as laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights and the constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.
The biggest Internet news portals have started branding the LGBT-related articles as an “adult content”. Even more interestingly, LGBT news portal gayline.lt has received the warning from the Inspector’s Office that the information within the website is possibly violating the Law on the Protection of Minors. It seems that active enforcement of the provisions of the controversial Law with regards to censoring the LGBT*-related public information is being commenced, which is very similar to the now notorious anti-LGBT* legislation in Russia.
Unfortunately, LGL currently lacks the funds to acquire a lawyer to take on this court case, and so we are inviting you to take part in this crucial fight for LGBT* rights in Lithuania. By donating money to our cause you are ensuring the possibility for LGL to keep fighting for a more equal and democratic Lithuanian society.
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Thank you for your solidarity!