President sees no grounds for stripping MG Baltic's LNK TV of its license
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that MG Baltic is an example of oligarchic activity, but there is no legal basis, at least for now, for stripping LNK, a TV channel owned by the business group, of its license.
"A classical definition of oligarchs is when a business merges with politics and runs its own media to pursue its interests, which are not always compatible with the public interest. Thus, we can see a classical example of this in MG Baltic's activities," she said in an interview aired by Žinių Radijas on Tuesday.
The president said that, as things stand right now, there are no grounds for revoking LNK's license.
"However, I'd like to say it very clearly that Lithuania is a state ruled by law and we have laws that lay down the basis for when a license may be revoked or suspended," the president said.
"Therefore, I can answer very responsibly that, in the current situation, the law does not provide for such a basis for suspending the license, at least with regard to LNK," she added.
Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense (NSGK), mentioned last week that certain media organizations acting against the state's interests might have their licenses revoked.
He said later that he was his personal opinion and that concrete steps would be proposed after the Seimas committee announces its findings.
MG Baltic, the owner of the LNK, BTV, TV1, Info TV and Liuks! television channels, has described Bakas' comments as pressure on the media and regulators.
In a report to NSGK that was made public a week ago, the State Security Department says that MG Baltic, in pursuit of its interests, had developed a long-term strategy that can be regarded as destructive activity posting a threat to national security.
As part of the implementation of its strategy, the business group used its media organizations to put pressure on politicians, civil servants and officials, the intelligence agency's report.