EBU voices Lithuania concerns
March 14, 2018 06.34 Europe/London By Chris Dziadul
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has expressed concerns about the increasing political pressure being placed on Lithuania’s LRT.
In a statement, it says that the Lithuanian Parliament has established an ad hoc investigative commission looking at the management, financial and economic activities of LRT. This has created an excessive burden for the public broadcaster which is preventing it from carrying out its normal day-to-day activities.
It adds that EBU’s DG has written to the Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament Viktoras Pranckaitis, the Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and the President of the Republic Dalia Grybauskaite to express concern about the pressure being placed on the broadcaster.
In the letter he said that while the EBU strongly supports the importance of the accountable and transparent operation of public broadcasters, it recommends that any appraisal on the financial, managerial and economic operations of LRT be carried out by competent, specialised professional bodies, such as the Supervisory Council, the internal and external Audit, or the national State Audit.
The EBU concludes that earlier this year a team of its experts participated in a parliamentary hearing of the Commission on Culture at the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) and expressed their concern to members of the Commission, while exchanging information and best practices.
The letter urges the Lithuanian authorities to refrain from any action which would impede LRT’s ongoing operations and to safeguard the institutional and editorial independence of the broadcaster. Independence is an indispensable precondition for LRT to fulfil its role as a public watchdog, which is necessary in every democratic society.