Recently the Lithuanian Government adopted a Resolution on new Rules for categorisation and dissemination of information, which might have a negative effect on minors. The new Rules were prepared to facilitate the implementation of the Law on Protection of Minors against Detrimental Effect of Public Information (Law on Minors); they came into force on 1 November 2010.
According to the new Rules broadcasters themselves are obliged to assess and determine if the to-be-published information might have a negative effect on minors. In doing so they have to follow the criteria provided in the Law on Minors and to consider the content, the aim of its publishing and its possible effect (the effect of the published information depends on the particularity, duration, frequency and suggestibility of the images).
In case broadcasters doubt if they can do it themselves, they can apply the Inspector of Journalists Ethics in order to assess and index the to-be-published information.
The Rules provide three TV programme categories, i.e. programmes for viewers under 7 (N-7), 14 (N-14) and 18 (S) years old. The index of the programme is to be shown on the screen during the whole broadcasting time; the programmes are to be categorised in the Electronic Programme Guide and TV programme grid as well.
Accordingly, broadcasters are to categorise announcements too. Any announcement must carry a note saying “appropriate for N-7”, appropriate for N-14”, appropriate for S”. The latter could only be published from 11 p. m. to 6 a. m. Earlier such requirement did not exist.
The Rules set one more new requirement to visually or orally warn the viewers with a note “Information might have a negative effect on minors” prior to the beginning of the programme in case such a programme might contain such information, but is allowed to be published by law.
The Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania is obliged to control the implementation of the mentioned Rules.
According to the LR Code of Administrative Offences, violation of the Rules incurs penalties from 1000 Lt (~286 Euro) to 10 000 Lt (~2860 Euro).