Commission confirms Lithuanian RTCL decision to suspend RTR Planeta retransmission

posted on 27 February, 2017   (public)

Commission confirms Lithuanian RTCL decision to suspend RTR Planeta retransmission

On 17 February 2017, the European Commission decided that the decision of the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (RTCL) to suspend, for the period from November 2016 to February 2017 the retransmission of the Russian language channel "RTR Planeta" containing incitement to hatred, is compatible with EU law.

The alleged infringements were found in three programmes broadcast from November 2015 to October 2016. In November 2016 the RTCL adopted a decision pursuant to the Lithuanian's Law on Provision of Information to the Public to order the temporary suspension of the retransmission, including on the internet, of the television broadcast RTR Planeta in the territory of Lithuania for a period of three months, starting on 21 November 2016. The decision was also notified by letter of to the Commission, in accordance with Article 3(2) 2nd subparagraph of the AVMSD informing it of RTCL's intention to take specific measures concerning RTR Planeta, in case such infringement occur again.
The Lithuanian authorities have gathered compelling evidence that RTR Planeta is under Swedish jurisdiction because it was registered as "Россия РТР" (Rossija RTR) by the Swedish Broadcasting Authority. Therefore, by letters of 1 December 2015 and 28 April 2016, the Lithuanian authorities notified the Swedish authorities of the matters but no amical settlement was reached.
On the circumstances of the case, since the qualification of these programmes as inciting to hatred was validly decided and the procedure of Article 3(2) of the Directive by the Lithuanian authorities was respected, the Commission considers that the arguments put forward by the broadcaster do not validly demonstrate that the effects of the suspension go beyond those which are intrinsically linked to the suspension of retransmission of the RTR Planeta and that the temporary suspension of the broadcast by Lithuania is proportionate and justified.

This is the second time the Commission has decided on a suspension of the retransmission of "RTR Planeta" on the basis of incitement to hatred. In 2015, a temporary suspension of three months of the retransmission of RTR Planeta decided by Lithuania in April 2015 was also considered as compatible with Union law.

Source: European Commission