- January 22, 2020
Lithuanian authorities don’t want to support Polish minority press
The Lithuanian Press, Radio, and Television Support Fund has announced the results of the distribution of subsidies from the state budget for the media in Lithuania in 2020. As a result of this division, the press published in Lithuania in Polish language has been completely deprived of financial support from the state budget.
This was done even though Poles constitute 6% of Lithuania’s residents, and they are as equal payers to the Lithuanian budget as Lithuanians. Also, despite the fact that in 1997 Lithuanian authorities promised the Polish government that they would subsidise the Polish press and in particular the ‘Kurier Wileński’. This year’s decision of the Lithuanian Press, Radio, and Television Support Fund is a clear manifestation of discrimination against the largest national minority in Lithuania. Such deliberate action by a state institution does not serve to improve the Polish-Lithuanian relations that we can recently observe.
In turn, discrimination against the press of the national minority serves to strengthen the influence of Russian propaganda on the Polish community in Lithuania. There is no room for vacuum in the information war waged by Russia against Lithuania and Poland. The weaker the national minority media are, the easier the national minorities become a target for Kremlin propagandists.
This has always been the case, not only in Ukraine in 2014. We have just finished commemorating the bloody events in Vilnius in 1991. At that time, the first goal of the Soviet authorities was also the media – the TV tower and editorial offices located in the Press House, including the ‘Kurier Wileński’. At that time, armed KGB commandos and paratroopers were sent against journalists. The rulers of the Kremlin knew very well in 1991, and also know now, how to play national minorities for their own purposes. However, those responsible for the information policy in Lithuania, including the distribution of budgetary resources for the press, do not seem to know this, or perhaps, for some reason, they do not want to know.
Editors of ‘Kurier Wileński’
Translated by Marta Bednarczyk within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.