Lithuania

[LT] Supreme Court annuls suspension of Russian TV

IRIS 2021-8:1/10

Andrei Richter

Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University (Budapest)

On 12 May 2021 the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania in a final judgment annulled the 2018 decisions of the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (RTCL), the national media regulator, on the 12-month suspension of the Russian state TV channel (IRIS 2018-4/32) and on imposing a monetary penalty on the Lithuanian cable and IPTV company INIT for its failure to comply with the suspension (IRIS 2018-7/24). The Supreme Administrative Court has also been an appeal instance in relation to the judgment of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court in this case.

The judgment reviewed various claims of the applicants, INIT and the non-commercial partnership Rosmediakom (co-founded by state Russian TV), as well as counter claims by the defendant, RTCL, on the material and procedural aspects of its decisions.

The Supreme Administrative Court found that out of the 11 commissioners of the RTCL that took part in the votes on its decisions under the dispute, two were faculty of the national university, which has a valid radio licence, while a third commissioner hosted a morning TV show - Basketball World. This violates the law, governing that members of the media regulator shall not have contractual relationships with entities providing services in broadcasting. Having established this procedural fault on behalf of the RTCL in adopting the decisions, the Supreme Administrative Court annulled the judgment of the court of first instance and made a new decision that annulled the two decisions of the media regulator. It also had to pay the costs to the applicants in the case.


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IRIS 2018-4:1/32 [LT] Lithuania suspends Russian TV channel RTR Planeta for one year

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This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.