11 July 2014

Raimondas ŠukysThe Seimas Ombudsman Raimondas Šukys addressed the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania with a recommendation to draft a sample regulation, which would assure that the right of journalists’ to get/acquire information is properly implemented by governmental and municipal institutions.

In the opinion of R. Šukys, bureaucratic obstacles such as different regulations that hinder journalists from implementing their professional duties, i.e. to get information promptly and disseminate it by informing the society, cannot be tolerated.

“Having evaluated this problematic issue, when different bureaucratic obstacles do not allow journalists to fulfil their right to get information about work of municipal institutions and agencies as well as their officials, I provided a recommendation to the Ministry of Culture, which agreed to draft a sample regulation and submit it to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania for approval” said Mr. Šukys.

The Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office has received about ten complaints from different media organisations concerning officials’ refusal to provide information.

“Such cases when information must be provided, but institutions refuse or delay to provide it must not be tolerated; therefore, the complaints were thoroughly investigated. Most of the complaints were declared to be justified,” said ombudsman R. Šukys.

The Seimas Ombudsman has also recalled the complaint received from the president of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Association concerning faulty regulation of Kaunas municipality. The regulation restricts the ability of representatives of media organisations to access municipality as well as to get an interview or comments from the officials:

“To unify the rights of journalist and citizens in requesting information from municipal and governmental organizations is not reasonable, since journalists carry out their professional duties. The media provides the society with objective and timely information on the activities of governmental and municipal organizations,” said the Seimas Ombudsman.