Lithuania | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Lithuania

Lithuania

Freedom of the Press 2006

2006 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

18

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

7

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

6

The government generally respects freedom of speech and of the press. Libel remains a crime in Lithuania, and judicial authorities may order a journalist to reveal confidential sources if such disclosure is necessary to protect other constitutional values. Any form of speech that promotes national or religious hatred is prohibited. In July, the independent daily Respublika was fined for publishing a cartoon deemed offensive by the Jewish community. However, Lithuania's supreme administrative court decided in September to throw out the case against Respublika's publisher for a different, arguably anti-Semitic and homophobic article published in 2004. The media in Lithuania freely criticize the government, as was evidenced by the coverage of the corruption scandals throughout 2004 and 2005. Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas attempted to try television journalist Ruta Grineviciute for slander, but the case was thrown out for lack of evidence. There is a wide variety of privately owned newspapers, and several independent and public television and radio stations broadcast throughout the country. Foreign companies, mainly from Norway and Sweden, invest greatly in the audiovisual media and, to a smaller degree, in the printed press. The government does not limit access to the internet; however, the country's highest court confirmed in September the state's decision to ban an internet site operated by a group of Chechen rebels who claimed responsibility for the 2004 Beslan massacre.