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IRIS 2017-9:1/25

Lithuania

Amendments to the Law on the provision of information to the public

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Renata Berzanskiene

Sorainen, MCIArb

On 1 November 2017, the Amendments to Articles 2 and 34 of the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public No. I-1418 will enter into force. The Amendments were enacted on 1 June 2017 by Law No. XIII-396. Sixty-six members of Parliament voted in favour of these Amendments, three members were against and five abstained from voting.

The main changes related to Article 34 of the Law. The Amendment to paragraph 4 of Article 34 establishes that re-broadcasters re-broadcasting programmes and (or) other persons providing the services of the dissemination of programmes or separate parts thereof on the Internet to the consumers of the Republic of Lithuania shall be obliged to give priority to the official languages of the European Union. The Amendments also state that the programming schedule in the official languages of the European Union as well as broadcasts in the unofficial languages of the European Union created in another member state must constitute no less than 90% of the scope of the broadcasts in the provision of the services of the dissemination of the programming schedule or separate broadcasts on the Internet to the consumers of the Republic of Lithuania and (or) no less than 90% of the scope of the re-broadcasted programming schedule in every main programming schedule package offered to consumers.

Such requirements shall not be applicable to the programming schedule packages disseminated for an additional fee. If there is a possibility of choosing the language, the re-broadcasters and (or) persons providing the services of the dissemination of the programming schedules or separate broadcasts on the Internet to the consumers of the Republic of Lithuania shall be obliged to create all conditions for the programming schedule or separate broadcasts to be re-broadcasted and (or) disseminated on the Internet in an official language of the European Union.

The Amendment added a new paragraph 5 to Article 34 of the Law stating that programmes re-broadcasted and (or) disseminated on the Internet in an unofficial language of the European Union translated into an official language of the European Union or shown with subtitles in an official language of the European Union, shall be equated with a programme re-broadcasted and (or) disseminated on the Internet in an official language of the European Union.

These Amendments are expected to motivate Lithuanian consumers to learn English, French, German, Spanish and other EU languages. Currently, about 30% of re-broadcasted TV programmes in Lithuania are in Russian, so these Amendments will decrease the number of re-broadcasted Russian TV channels.