Press freedom in danger in Lithuania?
In Lithuania a row has broken out between the political class and the media. Plans have been announced under which media would have to pay in future for access to the national register, which among other things contains all the data on companies. Until now only companies and private users had to pay. Commentators complain that the move will impede their research, and criticise the plans as an attack on press freedom.
On the way to becoming a police state
Website 15min finds the government's decision to limit journalists' access to the national register worrying:
“This government once promised all of us transparency. Now the government itself has caused the biggest transparency crisis. The work of journalists is being hindered. The video recordings of the meeting at which this damaging decision was taken were destroyed and the government is trying to dodge questions. The developments in our country pose a threat to democracy. Small political steps are curtailing freedoms, creating an atmosphere full of fear and weakening the powers of the media. If we gag the media and take away people's freedom of expression we are no longer a democratic state but a police state.”
Government wants to hide dark secrets
For Delfi the decision of the governing Farmers and Greens Union is proof that their leadership has something to hide:
“Who has more money? The editorial department that carries out investigative research on the basis of information in the national register, and which reports on the shady connections of Prime Minister Skvernelis and Party Chairman Karbauskis - and whose annual sales amount to seven million euros? Or businesses with a turnover of 100, 500 or even 1,000 million euros? Not only does the prime minister apparently believe that the journalists have more money, he also believes that they represent a greater threat. He says that they could use the information for malicious purposes. So in his view they're even more dangerous than the politicians and lawyers who continue to have access to the register.”