After having conducted the investigation on whether the programme „Special Event. Investigation“ of the television channel “NTV Mir Lithuania”, broadcast on 15 April 2016 allegedly violated Article 19.1.3 of the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public (hereinafter – Law on PIP) the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (hereinafter – the RTCL) found that its content was inciting to national hatred.
Following the provisions of the Law on PIP, the Rules on Programme Packaging as well as taking into account the RTCL Monitoring Inspection Report on the mentioned television programme and acting within the competence prescribed by the Law on PIP the RTCL took a decision to oblige the re-broadcasters acting in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania as well as other persons that provide television programme distribution services online and distribute the television channel “NTV Mir Lithuania”, to distribute it only at an additional cost ( it has to be moved from the at present offered programme package to a different programme package, which can be purchased by subscribers if wanted) for the period of 12 months after the decision comes into force. The decision was taken in order to protect the rule of law values, the viewers’ right to unbiased information and to prevent information, which incites to hatred.
The programme “Special Event. Investigation” was broadcast by the UK broadcaster Baltic Media Alliance Ltd. on 15 April 2016 from 7:49 p.m. until 8:14 pm. It analysed the topic on the collaboration of Lithuanians and Latvians in the Holocaust of the Jews carried out in the Baltic countries, the situation of the Russian ethnic minority in the Baltic countries as well as the revival of the fascist movements in the Baltics.
The programme disseminated hate speech, clearly and unequivocally promoted a feeling of hostility against the Baltic States (especially against Lithuania and Latvia), formed a negative image of the Baltic states as supporters of neo-Nazism in the Baltics, i. e. it was aiming to show the Baltic States as fascist states who are continuing fascist German traditions and pose a real threat to Russian minority in Lithuania and Latvia.
Certain facts shown in the proramme were conveyed in the way to mislead and misinform the public, e. g. the record shows images of people, who are clearly protesting against the nationalist demonstrators, holding a poster, which says “Yesterday – Juden Raus. Today – Lithuania – to Lithuanians”. However, it was presented as a fascist parade in Lithuania.
The programme openly demonized the Baltic nations as unambiguously negative ones; they were labeled nationalists, (neo) fascists, Nazis and radicals. The truth was provided only partially and consciously selected – in such a way that each individually expressed claim cannot be seen as clearly false.
Constant repetition of the same thoughts makes the audience believe what is said, stop critically analyse the content. The message of the programme is – “The Baltic countries are supporting fascism; the Russian ethnic minority is persecuted.”
The information disseminated in the programme in many cases was not based on evidence, but rather on the assumptions. The covered topics, the interviewed witnesses, interlocutors and experts were selected in such a way as to allegedly illustrate and confirm the programme host’s or reporter’s claims. The programme failed to carry out the other party’s right to reply, did not provide an alternative opinion on controversial issues (a historical evaluation of the Holocaust of the Jews in Lithuania and Latvia; the status of the so called “Russian non-citizens” in Latvia), the accused parties, i. e. Lithuanian and Latvian officials were not addressed and explanations on the alleged charges of the official government’s policy regarding the issues on education and training of ethnic minorities in Lithuania and the status of the Russian national minority in Latvia were not presented. The terminology used in regard to the Baltic States was negative (“Negros of Latvia”, “followers of the Baltic SS legionnaires”). The programme ostentatiously emphasized quasi negative official position of the Baltic states regarding the reviewed topics, indicating that the Russian ethnic minorities are openly discriminated; that they are labeled as the twenty-first century European Jews, thus creating a single negative message about the Baltic states as a whole (especially emphasizing Lithuania and Latvia) and inciting to national hatred between the ethnic Russians and the Balts. The content of the programme was harmful for Lithuanian citizens, Russian-speaking and Russian language cognizant audience, because it manipulated the data in order to affect the perception and opinion of the viewers on the situation of national minorities in the Baltic states, the historical evaluation of the Holocaust of the Jews and the alleged revival of officially supported neo-Nazi movements.
The RTCL constantly monitors national programmes and foreign channels targeting Lithuania especially. The channel “NTV Mir Lithuania” broadcast by the Baltic Media Alliance Ltd. falls within the UK jurisdiction and is supervised by its regulator OFCOM, which kindly assists the RTCL in dealing with its broadcaster.
The channel had already been sanctioned once in March 2014 for disseminating the information, which was prohibited from being published in the media.