SOS: Independent newspapers are being liquidated in Lithuania

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Appeal to international journalistic organizations, independent journalists and embassies of foreign states in Lithuania

Although Lithuania criticizes Belarus and its president Alexandr Lukashenko regarding his prohibition of free press Lithuania calling itself as democratic state is similar like Belarus at the extent of this issue. Only month ago Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania took into custody Aurimas Dryžius, publisher and editor of “Laisvas laikraštis” (“Free newspaper”) and confiscated his newspaper, where possible corruption relations of New union, under the leadership of Arturas Paulauskas, with gaming-house business company “Olimpic” casino have been announced. At the same time accounts of the company “Goruva”, publishing the weekly “Karštas komentaras” (“Hot Comment”) have been arrested. They have been arrested in secret without notification of the owners and directors of the company. Thus the publishing of the weekly “Karštas komentaras”, which currently especially criticizes methods of activity of Lithuanian special services, corruption of high officials and serving of Lithuania to culpable regime of Gorge Bush, has been suspended.

By the way, “Karštas komentaras” is the only newspaper in Lithuania, which discloses information concerning how many people have been killed due to culpable policy of George Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan and that the price for support of such “democracy” for Lithuania comprises 60 million LTL annually. Each number of the newspaper includes photographs of killed, disabled and beaten Iraqi and shows them to the inhabitants of Lithuania: this is the “democracy”, which accounts for 60 million LTL for Lithuania annually. No matter that meanwhile Lithuania is lacking money in the fields of education, health care, police”¦

All post-communistic states demonstrate very strict deformation in the process of conversion from authoritarianism to democracy. Lithuania is not an exception. Independence of Lithuania can not realize many of its aspects due to increased corruption as well as pragmatic aims and feuds among party blocs.

The newspaper “Karštas komentaras” having exclusive sources of information is most of all capable of disclosing reasons and circumstances of the above-mentioned facts. Therefore it is very harmful for corrupted state officials and leaders of the parties who by acting negatively within united European family make negative impact on economical and political decisions of other European countries without consideration about priorities of values, which under the expansion of emigration export these phenomena to other countries by leaving solution of these problems to Law and order of other states.

So “Karštas komentaras”, focusing on the issues of not only corruption of high officials of Lithuania but also on participation of Lithuania in bloody “support of democracy” in Iraq and Afghanistan became “national threat of Lithuania”, which is sentenced to liquidation. Liquidation is performed in so called “democratic” way, i.e. in accordance with the Laws, acting in the Republic of Lithuania.

This is the model of newspaper’s liquidation, which now is in force in Lithuania: 1. A person takes a newspaper to court on the basis of offence of honor and dignity and requires to pay a huge sum as compensation for moral damage; 2. In accordance with the law of “temporary security measures” he requires to ensure exaction of the sum specified in his claim, i.e. to arrest property and accounts of the company at the extent of the sum, specified in his claim; 3. A court arrests property and accounts of the company, thus the activity of the company is being suspended; 4. Few years later arrest is being canceled upon losing a lawsuit of a claimant, but during this time a company suffers bankruptcy and thus a newspaper is liquidated.

Currently such method of liquidation of “improper” press is especially popular in Lithuania. Currently such method is applied for “Karštas komentaras”: although legal proceeding on offence of honor and dignity has not been started yet, although the claim is baseless and editorial office has no doubts about its chances to win the process, but the accounts of the company issuing “Karštas komentaras” have been arrested and its publishing has been fully suspended. Such “technical” manners to close the newspaper have not been used even in “dictatorial” Belarus”¦

Therefore “Karštas komentaras” appeals to international journalistic organisations and asks for identification with independent, anti-corruption Lithuanian newspaper as well as invites to apply all possible international measures in order to help “Karštas komentaras” and to evaluate its significance of today. We ask to assist in achieving international response concerning discrimination of our newspaper, which would reach institutions, which discriminate against us. We also hope that opinion of international organizations and journalists who are concerned by our problem will reach the President and the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Owning to the fact that all institutions, which have suspended publishing of “Karštas komentaras” by arresting accounts of the newspaper, are subject to the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, we appeal to embassies of foreign states in Lithuania: we ask to find possibilities and to support publishing of the weekly “Karštas komentaras” via democracy supporting funds, acting in your countries.

Yours Respectfully

Giedrė Gorienė
Senior editor of “Karštas komentaras”

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