It is with great pleasure that the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) can inform you about another success. On 25th November the Ethics Commission for Journalists and Publishers (Lietuvos žurnalistų ir leidėjų etikos komisija) decided that Ms L.M., who filed a complaint regarding a programme broadcast on 27th June 2013 on LNK TV, is right. Dealing with this claim the Ethics Commission for Journalists and Publishers deemed that LNK TV journalists violated Articles 13 and 51 of the Code of Ethics of Lithuanian Journalists and Publishers (Žurnalistų ir leidėjų etikos kodeksas), and obligated LNK TV to deliver the message about the decision of the Commission which was issued 25th November 2013. The television channel must show news of this decision during the next news bulletin.
In her complaint, Mrs L.M. claimed that her disabled son who was at the hospital at that time, was shown on 27th June in reportage about a drunk teenager and nobody asked for his parents’ permission. The journalist of LNK TV filmed the son of Ms L.M. instead of another teenager who was in the same hospital room and being treated for alcohol intoxication. The journalist made it abundantly clear that the reportage was about the 11-year-old son of Ms L.M. The Ethics Commission for Journalists and Publishers claimed that LNK TV breached Article 13 of the Code of Ethics of Lithuanian Journalists and Publishers which reads as follows: “The journalists and public information organizers shall take care of children’s welfare and shall not cause sorrow or fear to children by publishing certain information.” and Article 51 which says that: “The journalist and public information organizer shall not publish any juvenile’s personal data in association with criminal acts or other violations of the law if the identity of the minor individual may be established from such data, except for cases when he/she is hiding from law enforcement institutions or a court.” Referring to Article 46 of the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public (Visuomenės informavimo įstatymas), the text of the Commission’s decision should be read during the next news on LNK. According to the same article, journalists or public information organizers who disagree with the Commission’s verdict have the right to appeal the decision by initiating proceedings at Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Vilniaus Apygardos Administracinis Teismas).
Ms L.M. asked EFHR for help because her original complaint filed to the Ethics Commission for Journalists and Publishers had not been considered valid. Due to professional support provided by the Legal Aid Centre of EFHR, another claim was decided in favour. EFHR enjoys offering help and support in cases such as this and recommends the service of its Legal Aid Centre (http://en.efhr.eu/legal-aid-centre/).