Two Russian TV channels may face stronger sanctions in Lithuania
The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) has ruled that RTR Planeta and TVCI disseminated content inciting to war and hatred and its chairman warned that the two Russian TV channels may face stronger sanctions than the usual three-month suspension.
"The commission stated that all the established facts were correct," Edmundas Vaitekūnas, head of the LRTK, told BNS on Monday.
The LRTK found that statements by Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky on a Vladimir Solovyov show broadcast on RTR Planeta and on The Right to Know show broadcast on TVCI contained incitement to hatred.
The media watchdog has in the past twice suspended the retransmission of RTR Planeta in Lithuania for three months over violations and has once obligated rebroadcasters to move the station to their paid channel packages. It has once temporarily suspended the retransmission of TVCI.
Vaitekūnas warned that the channels might face stronger sanctions.
"There is a limit to everything. If those three months have no impact and violations persist, then I think sanctions have to be stronger," the chairman said.
"A possible sanction is (a suspension) for a year to a year and a half," he added.
According to the media watchdog, Zhirinovsky said, among other things, on the RTR Planeta show that "We need to give an ultimatum to the Baltic states to withdraw all NATO forces 300 kilometers from Russia's borders and if you don't, we'll take certain measures".
When asked by the host what measures would be taken, the politician said, "They'll see. Some planes will fly in in the morning, at night".
On the TVCI show, Zhirinovsky spoke about an occupation of Ukraine and Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova.
The LRTK said that its findings regarding the incitement to war and hatred on these shows had been approved by the Lithuanian Defense Ministry's Strategic Communication and Public Relations Department.
Lithuania started to restrict the broadcasting of Russian channels after Russia in 2014 annexed Crimea and began to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.