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Lithuania / Supreme Administrative Court / eA-631-143/2017

UAB „15min“ v Public Information Ethics Association (Visuomenės informavimo etikos asociacija)

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Administrative Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case: 

On 18 June 2015 news portal published article, written by the third party S.C., “Proved: Lithuanian institution works for Moscow” („Lietuvos įstaiga dirba Maskvai – įrodyta“), in which author assessed the position of the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language (hereinafter – the Commission) regarding the spelling of names of Polish origine in official documents of the Republic of Lithuania. Public Information Ethics Commission decided that the title of the article and statements in the article, used to describe the Commission and its members (for instance, referred as “idiots”, “fools armed with philology education”) violated art. 3 of the Code of Ethics of Lithuanian Journalists and Publishers, which prohibits to impart opinions, which violate law and ethics. The applicant disagreed with the decision by noting that since in the article raised questions were politically important, the critics of the Commission should be justified and considered proportional by the EU and national law as a freedom of expression of the journalist. The court of first instance dismissed the complaint.

Outcome of the case: 

The Supreme Administrative court dismissed the appeal complaint and declared that the restrictions of freedom of expression were necessary to protect morals and reputation of others.