Seimas rejects LRT probe conclusions, sends them to different committee

Lithuania's parliament on Tuesday rejected the conclusions of an ad hoc investigation commission on the public broadcaster LRT after 56 lawmakers voted in favor, 56 were against and three abstained.

The parliament did not back the conclusions of the main parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs and now, under the Statute of the Seimas, they will go to a different parliamentary committee, the Committee on Culture, led by Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, for further consideration.

The conclusions call for eliminating the LRT Administrative Commission and instead setting up a board of five to seven members. They also call for partially changing the procedure for appointing members of the LRT Council to link it with the terms of office of the appointing authorities.

The LRT management is concerned that such proposed changes would undermine LRT's independence.

The ad-hoc commission also found, among other things, that the Public Procurement Office had since 2005 systematically recorded irregularities at LRT, but there was no evidence that the then LRT management had taken measures to prevent them.

The Seimas established the ad hoc commission in late December, 2017 to scrutinize the public broadcaster's public procurement processes and contracts and analyze its management structure.

Critics describe the probe as an effort to put political pressure on the media.

While the investigation was still ongoing, Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė was last March elected as LRT director general, replacing Audrius Siaurusevičius, whose second term in office had ended.

Source: BNS
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