“I won’t write any more comments about Poles. I’m scared and I obviously don’t want to be sued.” (http://www.delfi.lt/news/daily/lithuania/rsikorskis-lietuvoje-lenku-teises-butu-beveik-pakankamos-bet-jos-silpninamos.d?id=58876573&com=1&s=2&no=200). This comment proves that the campaign led by the Foundation against offensive comments in the Internet brings the desired effects. Offensive comments are less frequent and people who write those comments admit they are scared of writing texts inciting ethnic hatred. It is like in the proverb “We learn from our mistakes”. We can proudly say that the Foundation is successful in this case.
In a Lithuanian information web portal www.lrytas.lt there is a person, performing under a pseudonym “o_O”, who wanted to put a comment to an article entitled “„R. Sikorskis: Lietuvoje lenkų teisės būtų beveik pakankamos, bet jos silpninamos” (trans. Radosław Sikorski: Polish rights in Lithuania would be sufficient but they are too weak) but he or she suspects to have troubles afterwards (“parasyciau as komentara, labai noreciau, bet jei parasyciau, tai ple itariu, kad po to problemu nemazai tureciau… ech… :D:D:D:D:D”). Another person says that he or she has been already punished. Yet another one, hiding under a pseudonym “Joo” refrains from writing comments about Poles. This person’s words are the following: “apie lenkus daugiau komentaru nerasysiu, bijau propiesoriaus kuriaus “teisingumo” jo sukurtoje teisineje sistemoje (turiu uomeni Panevezio verslininka,parasiusi komentara apie lenkus) ir aisku nenoriu tureti teistumo!” (trans. “I won’t write comments about Poles anymore. I’m afraid of prof. Kuris who established this so called ‘justice’. I’d like to refer to a case of a businessman from Panevėžys who wrote an offensive comment about Poles. I just don’t want to be sued”).
EFHR is glad about the results of the action. There are already eight people punished for writing offensive comments. It is worth mentioning that the Foundation brought forward 25 applications concerning offensive commenting in the Internet to the General Prosecutor’s Office in 2011. Whereas there have already been over 270 applications brought forward to the General Prosecutor’s Office in 2012. Those actions are taken as a part of the campaign which aims to put an end to the feeling of impunity among all those who, without any restraints, violate the dignity of other people. Their actions very often include even inciting to killing others (http://www.efhr.eu/2011/08/18/european-foundation-of-human-rights-reported-a-dozen-or-so-cases-of-the-initiation-of-criminal-proceedings/?lang=en).
Not without reason the EFHR refers the applications to law enforcement agencies. The Foundation wants to reach state agencies responsible for law enforcement and enhance their understanding of the situation, which is serious and may have severe consequences. The state cannot stand idly by the rising tide of hatred on an unprecedented scale. Results of such attitude are noticeable in public surveys which clearly show that the negative campaign against national minorities led by politicians and media has its impact on the Lithuanian society (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/01/06/efhr-took-notice-seriously-of-the-survey-published-in-the-issue-of-iq-on-january/?lang=en).
The European Foundation for Human Rights would like to thank everybody who sends us information about illegal comments in the Internet. This success would not be possible without your help. We encourage you to cooperation.
Tłumaczenie Marta Dubiel w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Marta Dubiel within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.