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Vilnius

Although at one certain time in the history of this country, the media sector was tainted with corruption and being under the deadly grasp of the government to do its bidding and serve its propaganda, as of now, the Freedom House states the press freedom status of Lithuania as “free”. It has a running 3 daily newspapers, which are the remaining ones, owing to the decline of the newspapers over the years due to lacking people’s interest in them. The media companies of Lithuania are mostly foreign owned and privately owned. One of the major reason for the decline of the print news media is seen as the rise of the internet and of social media. Also, the content presentation of the newspapers over the years raised issues that they weren’t much focusing on the important issues at the moment, rather providing information the public isn’t much interested in. Advertising is the main source of revenue for the Lithuanian media. While there are about 115 radio stations, they are mostly focused on music, entertainment broadcast, commercials, rather than actual news. There are 50 or more television channels currently running. An amendment of a law in 2015 sprung the industry and started a sudden steep increase in television channels. The law banned all commercial advertisement on the television and radio. Overall the international media’s viewpoint of the press in Lithuania is positive, apart from some separate incidents. Although the state gives the media the right to exercise freedom of speech, press and expression, regarding certain matters they are still restricted, for example about the LGBT community. Disturbing incidents happened in the media sector where the Intelligence services of the state detained and questioned journalists to give up sources, which they refused to. This created a volatile situation between the government and the press. Also, unconfirmed accusations of wiretapping the journalists have been heard about, which created a difficult situation that laws had to be amended and parliament got involved into the matter. There have also been cases of hate speech targeted towards Jews and Roma, which does impact with the issue of freedom of speech. It’s a difficult situation, taking into account the country’s history that the state controls to some extent that any war provoking program should not be broadcasted. Propositions to amend the law so that programs inciting “war propaganda” may be banned. All in all, it’s not entirely easy to explain the media landscape of Lithuania in one take, but the landscape is improving

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