Simonas Kairys after meeting with EFJ President: “We want to ensure the right for journalists to work safely and unimpeded”

Date

2021 08 25

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On Tuesday the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys met with the President of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, who is currently visiting Lithuania.

The President of the EFJ was most interested in the challenges that are faced both by the media of Lithuania and the journalists of Belarus and Russia who have recently been experiencing particularly notable repressions because of their activities.

The Minister of Culture informed the guest about the plans for the improvement of the Lithuanian journalists’ freedoms and rights that are included in the Government programme’s measures. Kairys emphasised that, for the first time, the Government’s programme includes a clear priority to create guarantees of the journalists’ safety and an effective mechanism of protection against persecution due to criticism.

The minister also spoke in detail about the current discussions regarding future changes in the self-regulation of the Lithuanian media and the state support model. The EFJ President was also presented the amendment to the Code of Administrative Offenses which was registered in the Seimas meetings’ secretariat this week and which proposes to introduce fines for obstructing journalists in collection of information.

“Recent events in Lithuania have demonstrated the hindrances that are faced by the journalists who perform their professional duties and revealed the gaps in legal regulation. We want to ensure the right for media representatives to work safely and unhindered, because that is one of the fundamental conditions of a democratic society”, Simonas Kairys said.

The President of the EFJ was especially interested in the working conditions of the journalists from Belarus and Russia as well as the cooperation possibilities in the support of their activities. Simonas Kairys informed Mogens Blicher Bjerregård about a previously held meeting with Belarussian journalists who work in Lithuania during which contacts were exchanged, the most relevant information was shared, and questions were answered regarding vaccination and visas, and other matters were discussed including misinformation, fake news, and information threats.

“We are glad that journalists of Belarus are here and that they can gain experience from you, Lithuanians”, EFJ President Mogens Blicher Bjerregård said.

EFJ appreciates Lithuania’s active participation in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), where our country has contributed significantly to the strengthening of human rights and freedoms, particularly freedom of speech and safety of media representatives.

Photo of Liudas Masys