ISSN 2312-5160

Current Issues of Mass Communication, 2015, no. 18, pp. 8-21

ISSN 2312-5160

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17721/2312-5160.2015.18.8-21

Full text, PDF (in English)


Genesis of Public Broadcaster in Post-Soviet Society. Lithuanian Case

Zygintas Peciulis *

Faculty of Communication, Vilnius University, 7 Maironio str., LT-01124 Vilnius, Lithuania

* Corresponding author’s e-mail address: zygintap[@]takas.lt

 

ABSTRACT

The goal of the research was to analyse the development of the idea of the public service broadcasting (PSB) in Lithuania as one of Post-Soviet countries that restored its independence in 1990. The Lithuanian case serves in revealing the great variety of ways to interpret the idea of the PSB, the possibilities to manipulate various notions, and the way the fate of the PSB can be affected by politicians and competing business groups.

In this research we distinguished the following stages of the PSB concept formation in Lithuania: the first debates (the development of legislative basis), and attempts of influence – the so-called depoliticisation, decommercialisation, and optimization. In order to achieve it, we analysed the Lithuanian legislation and its amendments, parliamentary discussions, and press publications. We also compared the Lithuanian PSB concept with the Western perception.

It was concluded that despite of the official declarations about further limiting the interference with the national service broadcaster, there actually were the attempts of influence and politicisation. Politicisation by depoliticising. In pursuit of changing the Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) management the procedure of LRT Council formation was changed in 1996-1997: representatives were delegated by 15 creative and public organisations. The principles of public organisations selection have been criticised. Politicisation by de-commercialising. In 2000-2002, the LRT was criticised because of its commercialisation and non-performance of its mission. It was intended to develop a special funding system whereby the LRT should submit the Seimas with a funding plan and evidences justifying that the anticipated programmes are in compliance with the national mission. Introduction of such amendments could pose a risk of direct political interference with the LRT management and formation of the programme content. Politicisation by optimising. In 2009-2010 the attempts were made to radically reform the LRT management. The criticism related to linkage of the LRT Council members mandate with the political calendar, possibility of recalling the Council members by the delegating institutions and organisations, and the right of the Seimas Committee to approve or reject the strategy of the LRT programming. In 2014, a new financing model of the LRT has been developed, following which the LRT in 2015 discontinued broadcasting the commercial ads (except for certain established cases). The LRT financing is known in advance and calculated on the basis of the budget revenue and excise duty collection results of a preceding calendar year.

 

KEYWORDS: public service broadcasting, Lithuanian Radio and Television, LRT, radio, TV, soviet propaganda.

 

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