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Lithuania Cuts Broadcasts of Russian TV Channel

Can't have Russian-speaking Lithuanians hear news as told by the other side

VILNIUS, April 13 (TASS) - The Lithuanian Commission for radio and television broadcasts under the Lithuanian parliament has cut the broadcasts of Russian RTR-PLANETA TV channel for three months. The broadcasts were cut short last midnight sharp and were followed by an explanation displayed on dark TV screens that the reason was a program run by RTR-Planeta in January which the Lithuanian commission implicated in "inciting ethnic strife and war ambitions."

Chairman of the Lithuanian Commission Edmundas Vaitekunas underlined that no court resolution was needed to cut the TV channel. The Russian channel doesn't admit violations in its broadcasts, Vaitekunas said.

Last April Vilnius cut RTR-PlANETA broadcasts for three months as well for similar reasons.

Lithuania might also suspend broadcasts by Russian "NTV-MIR" company for similar reasons, Vaitekunas said, adding that the commission had been monitoring the NTV-MIR broadcasts so as to have "a legal reason" to suspend NTV-MIR in Lithuania.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over Lithuania’s claims to Russian television. " As a matter of fact Lithuania has been practicing full-scale political censorship which is incompatible with the norms of a democratic state," the Russian foerign ministry said. "The situation needs immediate public reaction from Brussels and an OSCE representative for the freedom of the mass media," it said.

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