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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 31.05.2020, 02:41

Dispute on Lithuanian sanctions for Russian TVs moves to EU Court

BC, Vilnius, 21.02.2018.Print version
The instructions from Lithuanian institutions to move Russian televisions to paid packages of programs amid violations is in line with the European Union (EU) law, says the European Law Department in a draft conclusion to the government, informs LETA/BNS.

The department suggested that the Cabinet should support the position, which will be sent to the EU Court of Justice.


The court will address a plea from a Vilnius court in the case of Baltic Media Alliance it is currently hearing. The media group, which operates the Russian televisions, want the Lithuanian court to list the 2015 obligation issued by the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) to Lithuanian operators to move the RTR Planeta channel to paid packages as running counter to the EU law.


The Vilnius court asked the EU court whether the provisions of the Law on Provision of Information to the Public behind the decision is in compliance with the EU law.


According to the conclusion drafted by the European Law Department, the EU directive for audiovisual media only defines cases when member-states want to stop broadcasts or rebroadcasts of a television program instead of imposing restrictions, while "measures restricting the freedom of receiving and transmission of programs", Lithuanian lawyers say, can be applied in accordance to national law of the member-state, in this case, the Law on Provision of Information to the Public.


The law envisages that the restrictions, i.e., the obligation to move the program to a paid package, can be applied outside the complex information and coordination procedure envisaged in the directive.


Last week, the Lithuanian radio and television watchdog decided to order the Russian-language TV channel RTR Planeta off the air in the country for a year. Back in 2015, Lithuanian broadcasters were instructed to move the channel to paid packages, however, withdrew the restriction following signals from the European Commission about possible violation of EU law.


In the past, rebroadcasting bans were imposed against other Russian-language channels. The Great Britain-registered Baltic Media Alliance operates the following channels: First Baltic Channel (PBK), First Baltic Music Channel, REN TV, NTV Mir, Carousel, etc.

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