In 2016 Lithuania’s elected politicians and public servants owned 57 media outlets in Lithuania

Published April 2, 2017

In 2016, 26 politicians and civil servants owned 57 different media tools in Lithuania, shows the newly updated media monitoring website STIRNA.info. Throughout the past 20 years 78 media tools belonged to 39 politicians  and civil servants.

The number of politicians and servants owning media tools has not changed in previous year. In 2012 there were 25 such owners, in 2016 – 26. Typically, politicians and public servant own regional media. After being elected to the Parliament or municipal councils, they still remain as media holders.

In 2016 9 parliament members, 2 mayors, 1 deputy mayor, 2 ministry workers, 13 municipal council members from Vilnius, Plungė, Kelmė, Mažeikiai, Tauragė, Šalčininkai, Zarasai, Ignalina, Panevėžys, Raseiniai, Ukmergė and Utena had ties with media ownership. Half of the politicians (12) – are from Lithuanian Farmers’ and Greens’ Union and Liberal Movement.

“I’m asking politicians to lead an example and implement the highest journalist ethical standards in their media tools. For example, it would be perfect if media outlets that have ties with politicians, clearly declare that and publish contained rules of conduct regarding that matter. After all, it is important for a reader to know how these media tools avoids political influence, what kind of editorial policy they follow“ , said Sergejus Muravjovas , Executive Director of “Transparency International” Lithuania.

Overall, 9 Members of Lithuanian Parliament were among media owners:

  • Audrius Nakas, elected with Lithuanian People’s Party (Lietuvos liaudies partija) (he is one of the owners of www.ekspertai.eu website);
  • Dainius Kreivys ir Mantas Adomėnas, elected with Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (Tėvynės sąjungos – Lietuvos krikščionių demokratų partija) (website www.politika.lt);
  • Kęstutis Pūkas, elected with Order and Justice (Tvarka ir teisingumas) (radios „Pūkas“, „Pūkas 2“ television „Pūkas TV“);
  • Kęstutis Smirnovas, elected with Lithuanian Farmers’ and Greens’ Union (Lietuvos valstiečių ir žaliųjų sąjungos) (press „Audra“);
  • Michal Mackevič ir Vanda Kravčionok, elected with Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action-Christian Family union (Lietuvos lenkų rinkimų akcija-Krikščioniškų šeimų sąjunga) (press “Vilniaus krašto savaitraštis”, “Tygodnik Wilenszczyzny”, “Magazyn Wilenski”);
  • Ramūnas Karbauskis, elected with Lithuanian Farmers’ and Greens’ Union (Lietuvos valstiečių ir žaliųjų sąjungos) (press „Kaimo laikraštis“, „Šeimininkė“, „Rasos“, website up.lt);
  • Viktoras Fiodorovas, elected with Labor Party (Darbo partijos) (websites Alytiškis.lt , Druskininkietis.lt , Elektrėniškis.lt , Ignalinietis.lt , Jonavietis.lt , Kalvarijietis.lt , Kaunietis.lt , Kazlurudietis.lt , Kėdainietis.lt , Kiašiadorietis.lt , Marijampolietis.lt , Molėtiškis.lt , Plungiškis.lt , Prieniškis.lt , Radviliškietis.lt , Raseiniškis.lt , Šakiškis.lt , Trakietis.lt , Ukmergietis.lt , Vilkaviškietis.lt).

2 mayors were also among the media owners:

  • Artūras Margelis,  Lazdijai district municipality mayor, member of Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (Tėvynės sąjungos – Lietuvos krikščionių demokratų partija) member (press “Dainavos žinios”, “Dzūkų žinios”)
  • Saulius Grinkevičius, Kėdainiai district municipality mayor elected with Lithuanian freedom union (liberals) (Lietuvos laisvės sąjunga (liberalai)), (press “Kėdainių mugė”).

From 13 municipal council members owning media , 5 politicians were from Liberal Movement (Liberalų sąjūdis):

  • Aidas Kėsas from Plungė district municipality;
  • Audronis Imbrasas from Vilnius city municipality (he also works as vice minister at Lithuanian Ministry of Culture);
  • Edmundas Čeičys from Zarasai district municipality;
  • Jonas Katinas from Panevėžys district municipality;
  • Saulius Matelis from Raseiniai district municipality.

3 Lithuanian Lithuanian Farmers’ and Greens’ Union (Lietuvos valstiečių ir žaliųjų sąjunga) members:

  • Albertas Brazas from Kelmė district municipality;
  • Jonas Baltakis from Ignalina district municipality;
  • Vytautas Kazėla from Utena district municipality.

3 members are from Lithuanian Social Democratic arty (Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija):

  • Auksė Kontrimienė from Vilnius city municipality (she also works as minister counselor at Lithuanian Ministry of Justice)
  • Arūnas Beišys from Tauragė district municipality;
  • Valdas Petronis from Ukmergė district municipality.

Also, one media owner was a member  from Public Elections Committee “Differently” (Visuomeninis rinkimų komitetas “Kitaip”) (Alvydas Balčiūnas from Mažeikiai district municipality) and one from Labour party (Darbo partija) (Dalia Jankelaitienė from Šalčininkai district municipality).

The information published on www.stirna.info is gathered from Ministry of Culture, Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission and also from Chief Electoral Commissionof the Republic of Lithuania. Website provides information about the Parliament members that held office in terms 2012-2016 and 2016-2020, municipal council members elected in 2015 and civil servants who took place in leading job positions in 2016.  All the information was collected in October 2016.