EBU voices Lithuanian concerns

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EBU voices Lithuanian concerns

The EBU has said it is concerned about proposed changes to Lithuanian National Radio and Television’s (LRT) governance, including the appointment of members of the governing bodies and supervision.

In a statement, it says the changes have been proposed by an ad hoc parliamentary investigative commission on the operations of LRT.

It adds that the establishment of this parliamentary commission has been contested at the Constitutional Court and the case is still pending. In this situation, the EBU believes that it would be better to wait for the Court decision or at least not adopt far-reaching measures solely on the basis of the findings of the investigative commission.

The EBU says it is particularly concerned about the proposed changes to the appointment of LRT council members, which would be made subject to accelerated and quasi continuous renewal; the appointment procedures for the new board, which appear to lack safeguards against political influence; and the introduction of an unprecedented three-tier control system as regards the fulfilment of the requirements of the LRT Law, such as the public service remit, with overlapping powers of the board, the council and the commission.

The EBU goes on to say it is of crucial importance that the body entrusted with the supervision of LRT is truly independent from political powers and assumes the role of guaranteeing the editorial independence of public service media as provided by European standards.

In view of the importance of the governance system for the independence and democratic role of public service media, the EBU therefore urges parliament not to rush through far-reaching changes without broad public debate and a proper impact assessment.

The EBU concludes by saying It is also important to seek a broad political consensus on any changes to the governance system so as to prevent a vicious circle where the system is changed after every election and causes instability in the management and operation of public service media.

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