Growing tension between journalists and government
Tension between journalists and the government increased in 2020. A group of journalists from various media outlets won an important legal battle with the government over the latter’s refusal to hand over an audio recording of a governmental meeting at which journalists were defamed. The supreme court ruled that the government was violating both the journalists’ rights and the public’s right to know. This set a very important precedent, giving journalists right of access to all non-classified information. State agencies nonetheless still tend to refuse to provide information to journalists. The media regulator meanwhile cited European Union sanctions as grounds for banning the Russian TV network RT’s channels. While these bans did not affect the Lithuanian media, they blurred the line between foreign policy and media regulation. The government provided financial aid to the media to help them cope with the economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was not distributed fairly and transparently. Hospitals, municipal councils, courts and other state institutions restricted journalists’ access to information during the crisis.
28 in 2020
21.19 in 2020