Lithuanian watchdog says not to punish foreign periodical distributors for alcohol ads

The Lithuanian Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department promises not to punish, at least for some time, distributors of foreign periodicals containing advertisements for alcoholic beverages as politicians plan to consider measures to allow alcohol advertising in such publications.

The department says that it gives foreign press distributors a "reasonable" period of time to adapt themselves to a complete ban on alcohol advertising in place in Lithuania since the start of the year, without specifying an exact deadline.

"We treat this with tolerance and would not punish distributors for such violations. In the near term, it is not the department's aim and priority to look for such foreign periodicals and punish their distributors," Gražina Belian, deputy director of the authority, told BNS on Monday.

Her comment comes amid social media reports that distributors of foreign periodicals are removing pages containing alcoholic drink advertising from imported magazines or using other ways to hide such ads.

Vigintas Bartasevičius, CEO of Press Express, Lithuania's biggest distributor of foreign magazines, told BNS that all alcohol ad-containing pages of publications supplied to stores and subscribers are being torn off or such ads are blackened out, or stickers are placed on them.

Ruling politicians and the opposition propose various ways of allowing keeping alcohol ads in foreign publications distributed in Lithuania.

Ramūnas Karbauskis, chairman of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), calls on the Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department not to punish distributors until the parliament adopts new amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control during its upcoming spring session.

Ten conservative lawmakers said on Monday that they had tabled a draft amendment to the law to allow granting an exception from the ban to imported foreign-language publications issued by foreign-registered legal entities.

Source: BNS
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