Members of the European Parliament have expressed their concerns over the setting up of a commission in Lithuania to scrutinise the public broadcaster LRT.
Quoting an open letter to the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas (Lithuanian parliament), Baltic Times reports they said the action “is in contradiction to the European standards on public service media (PSM) independence set by the Council of Europe”.
They added: “We are seriously alarmed to see the ongoing interference into media work by the present ruling coalition of Lithuania, particularly as it strikingly resembles to the recent crisis around the public broadcaster of Poland and the subsequent worrisome political processes in that country.
“With this letter, we, the undersigned members of the ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) Group, wish to express our strong concern about such unfortunate developments related to the Lithuanian public service media. We therefore call on the ruling majority of the Seimas to abstain from any steps of political interference into the activities of the LRT and rely upon investigations to be conducted by independent bodies of experts”.
The signatories include Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the ALDE group.
Lithuania’s Seimas set up a special commission earlier this month to investigate LRT and how it spends its budget.
However, some critics have said this is a way of exerting political pressure on the public broadcaster.