• January 22, 2014
  • 224

Lithuanian media defend the President’s lies

© Marian Paluszkiewicz

Television stations in Lithuania broadcast information concerning the statement issued by the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in Šalčininkai District. The information’s tone was slanted towards the opinion: “Poles are again attacking the President”. The Forum presented evidence that President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s declaration on the observance of minority rights in Lithuania was, at least, a departure from the truth.

“(…) President Dalia Grybauskaitė lied to the public and to the representatives of the European Parliament, claiming in her speech that the reports of international organizations had not found any incorrectness in the Lithuanian treatment of minority rights. Well, the President is lying (…)” – we may read, among other things, in the statement issued by the Forum of Parents. In the same statement, there are presented the reports of international organizations, according to which the situation of national minorities in Lithuania is aggravating, and not all their rights are complied with.

However, the parents’ arguments “escape” the Lithuanian media, which consider the accusations that their President lied a case of lese-majesty. Politicians of the conservative parliamentary faction, The Homeland Union/Lithuanian Christian Democrats, always ready to serve the President, regard the statement issued by the Forum of Parents and the whole Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania as antinational.

Rasa Juknevičienė, a conservative deputy, claimed that the President of the Forum of Parents of Polish Schools in Šalčininkai District and, at the same time, the vice-minister of energy, ought to hand in her resignation, or else she should be dismissed.

Also Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, requested to comment on the case at hand, told journalists that the President had been accused of lying, and that was the reason why the vice-minister ought to resign from her post. The Prime Minister also admitted that he did not know the content of the statement issued by the Forum of Parents. Renata Cytacka has become the vice minister of energy from the ruling coalition, which is co-formed by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania.

– I am devastated by the attitude of the media and politicians, as they choose not to see that we have presented the evidence of the President speaking untruth. Instead of focusing on this fact, they have shown me almost as an enemy of the nation – Renata Cytacka told “Kurier”. She emphasized that the statement of the Forum’s primary intention had been to defend the Polish minority, and deny the President’s words.

– It is unacceptable to mislead the international community, and this should be the subject of the discussion. However, what we have today is the situation in which a person departing from the truth is considered a hero, and the one standing up to them is slandered – said Renata Cytacka. She added that she had signed the statement as the chairwoman of a social organization, and as a citizen for whom democratic pluralism matters. The Presidency, on the other hand, avoids commenting on this issue. In its press release, the Presidency has only stated that the President already said everything concerning the situation of national minorities in Lithuania.

Not only the Forum of Parents accuses President Grybauskaitė. In its statement issued on 17th January, the European Foundation of Human Rights enumerates the international reports that contain objections against Lithuanian noncompliance with minority rights. In the statement, it is claimed that the abovementioned reports are the proof of “the President’s lies or her lack of knowledge regarding the internationally discussed issue of the national minorities in Lithuania.”

“As the EFHR has already pointed out, the opinions expressed by the President encourage the view that she is not able to distinguish between the national minorities and migrants. Her arguments concerning e. g. Law on National Minorities are invalid, their goal is to awake society’s reluctance to regulate the legal issue of national minorities in the country” – we read in the Foundation’s statement.

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2014/01/22/litewskie-media-bronia-prezydenckich-klamstw/

Tłumaczenie by Agata Weronika Chrobak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Agata Weronika Chrobak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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