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IRIS 2007-2:16/27

Lithuania

Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Minors

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Jurgita Iešmantaitė

Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania

On 5 December 2006, the Parliament ( Seimas ) of Lithuania adopted amendments to the Act on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.

In essence only Article 4 and Article 5 of the law were amended with the aim of providing a specific definition of harmful information and reinforcing the protection of minors against the detrimental effect of public information.

Previously, Article 4 of the law foresaw an exhaustive list of criteria according to which an public information was evaluated as causing detrimental effects to the physical, mental or moral development of minors.

This article has now been supplemented with additional criteria that define the kind of information that can cause such detrimental effects, i.e. information in which addictions are tolerated, information with detailed presentation of vandalism acts, information that encourages gambling games, harmful dietary, hygienic and physical passivity habits as well as information in which advice is given on how to produce, get or use explosives, drugs or psychotropic substances and other products presenting a danger to a person’s life and health.

In accordance with the law the publication and dissemination of information which corresponds to the criteria set out in the above mentioned Article 4 is restricted. The act provides that public information within this category may be broadcast only between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., otherwise technical measures must be employed to ensure that persons who are responsible for the upbringing and care of children could have the possibility of limiting the supply of such public information to minors.

The broadcasters are obliged to evaluate and classify public information (e.g. broadcasts, films, serials, etc.) in accordance with the criteria laid down in Article 4.

The regulations of Article 5 foresee that public information activities that make personal data of minors available to the public are prohibited when they tend to cause detrimental effect to the development of minors. This article was supplemented with a new provision specifying harmful information to minors in greater detail. It states that the presentation of photos or filmed material of minors, from which a minor's personal identity may be revealed in a context of negative social phenomena, is not allowed.

The liability of the broadcasters for the violation of these requirements is laid down in the Code of Administrative Offences. The penalties foreseen in the Code vary from EUR 290 to EUR 2,890.

References
- LT
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=10568
 
  Law on the Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effect of Public Information (with amendments)