83 media outlets were owned by 43 politicians, state officials and their spouses in 2020. According to the newly updated media monitoring website STIRNA.info, currently there are 1056 media outlets in Lithuania.
Over the past year, the number of politicians, state officials and their spouses who own media outlets has not changed but the number of media outlets decreased by a fifth (from 101 to 83).
In 2020, the owners of media outlets featured 8 members of Parliament, 10 municipal council members from Ignalina, Kelmė, Plungė, Radviliškis, Tauragė, Telšiai, Ukmergė, Utena, Zarasai district and Vilnius city municipalities, 1 head of department at municipality administration, 1 member of the European Parliament and 13 former candidates in elections. Media outlets were also owned by 10 spouses of individuals who held the position of a member of a municipal council (5), a member of the Parliament (3), mayor (1) and state official (1) in 2020.
Last year, media outlets were owned by 5 members of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (7 media outlets) and Labour Party (23 media outlets), 4 members of the Social Democratic Party (6 media outlets) and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance (4 media outlets), 2 members of the Liberal movement (3 media outlets) and of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (2 media outlets) and by 1 representative of the Order and Justice Party (3 media outlets), the Lithuanian People’s Party (2 media outlets) and the Freedom and Justice Party (2 media outlets).
“I would like for media to keep in step with the times and act in accordance with the highest transparency standards by publishing information about interests of their owners, executive directors and editors in chief, codes of conduct and annual financial reports”, – said Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of Transparency International Lithuania.
Since 1996, 93 media outlets have been owned by 55 politicians and state officials. During the same period, the spouses of politicians and state officials (12) owned total of 25 media outlets.
Information about the ownership of media outlets provided in STIRNA.INFO was gathered from the data provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania, the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Lithuania and the Chief Official Ethics Commission of Lithuania.
The initiative is a part of the Active Citizens Fund financed by the EEA Grants 2014-2021.