World Association of News Publishers


WAN-IFRA Signs Joint Letter to Lithuanian President

WAN-IFRA Signs Joint Letter to Lithuanian President

Article ID:

18636

Protesting the proposed ban on Russian government-controlled TV channels in Lithuania, international press freedom groups urge the government to "preserve the principles of free expression."

Madame President, Excellencies :

The undersigned international press freedom organizations understand that Lithuania’s Committee on Radio & Television has under consideration, at the government’s request, a measure to ban Russian government-controlled television channels from broadcasting to Lithuania,

While we do understand that the objection to their broadcasts is that in the current tense situation in Eastern Europe they are seen as propagandistic and polemical, we view their banning as the wrong approach to counteracting their messages. Not only is this in contradiction with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international free speech standards, but we also consider such bans to be  counterproductive,

If put into effect, bans on broadcasts across frontiers would almost inevitably be seized upon by the Russian authorities to justify bans on broadcasts by independent news media from other countries.

It is an established conviction in free societies that the best answer to bad speech is more speech. We can see from the reaction to recent events in Moscow that there is a large public that is open to arguments, news reports and information to counteract official propaganda. The risk should not be taken to cut off such audiences from the free flow of information from outside their borders.

May we remind you of the words of Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

And may we also remind you of the finding by the Council of Europe’s Court of Human Rights in the case of Handyside versus United Kingdom (1976) : “Freedom of expression … is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that are favoruably received but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population.”

We therefore call upon you in the name of preserving the principles of freedom of expression to set aside any further consideration of bans on Russian broadcasts to Lithuania.

 

Respectfully,

 

COMMONWEALTH PRESS UNION MEDIA TRUST, London

INTER AMERICAN PRESS ASSOCIATION (SIP), Miami

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTING (AIR), Montevideo

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE PERIODICAL PRESS (FIPP), London

INTERNATIONAL PRESS INSTITUTE, Vienna

WORLD ASSOCIATION OF NEWSPAPERS & NEWS PUBLISHERS, Paris/Duesseldorf

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM COMMITTEE, Paris/New York

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2015-03-10 00:00

Contact information

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...