Lithuania's radio, TV watchdog to decide on Russia's RTR Planeta broadcasts
Lithuania's Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) will Wednesday decide whether broadcasts of the Russian channel RTR Planeta should be banned in the country amid repeated violations.
The ban can be imposed for a period of 12 to 18 months, the commission's chairman Edmundas Vaitekūnas told BNS.
"The evidence that we have gives us sufficient legal grounds to decide on restrictions. Guests from Russia are coming and they will probably provide their explanations and comments, in any case, the commission will decide at its meeting on whether restrictions should be imposed and whether other decisions should be made. We have notified the European Commission and RTR Planeta about the possible decision of restricting the broadcasts for 12 to 18 months," said Vaitekūnas.
LRTK has in the past twice suspended broadcasts by the Sweden-registered channel RTR Planeta, in 2015 and 2016, for distributing content inciting to war and hatred. In both cases, three-month suspensions were imposed over statements made on the channel by Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky. However, the media watchdog recorded further violations after the sanctions.
Vaitekūnas said that the channel's representatives were expected to attend the LRTK meting on Wednesday, but added that the time limits set by law for reaching an agreement with the commission had already expired.
According to the chairman, three instances of incitement to war and hatred in programs aired on RTR Planeta have been registered since the latest suspension expired a year ago.
Lithuanian rebroadcasters in 2015 were instructed to move RTR Planeta to their paid packages, but the measure was canceled following signals from the European Commission that it run counter to EU legislation.