Lithuanian court orders closure of portal broadcasting Russian TV content
A Lithuanian court has instructed Baltijas Mediju Aliance (BMA), a company registered in Latvia, to discontinue unlawful broadcasts of Russian television programs on the website tvdom. tv. The plea against the company’s operations was filed with the Vilnius court by the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission, which stated that the provision of services for Lithuanian users on the website run counter to Lithuanian laws, as the company has not notified the media watchdog about its operations.
Edmundas Vaitekunas, chairman of the Radio and Television Commission, said this was the first court ruling in Lithuania, ordering a company providing online television rebroadcasting services to discontinue its unlawful operations.
The watchdog has repeatedly warned BMA about the obligation, however, the company provided argumentation about the company’s registration in Latvia, which made it subject to European Union (EU) law, not Lithuanian jurisdiction.
Vaitekunas said that providers of online television have to pay copyright taxes and are subject to other legal mechanisms after notification to the media watchdog.
Tvdom.tv is currently available online, providing information in the Lithuanian language and offering Russian-language content of NTV Mir Lithuania, Ren TV Lietuva, PBK Lietuva, Karusel and Dom Kino.
After annexation of Crimea by Russia, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission restricted broadcasts of five Russian channels, including channels operated by BMA.