To protect copyrights, on July 10, the Lithuanian Radio and Telecommunication Committee (LRTK) decided to restrict access to internet service providers for the Lithuanian Sputnik website https://sputniknews.lt. On 12 July, the administrative court of Vilnius agreed with the decision of the LRTK and ordered the service providers by law to close the site within 5 days, ie by 18 July at the latest.
The process began on 3 July when the Lithuanian National Broadcasting service (LRT) approached the Radio and Telecommunications Committee and pointed out in a statement that Sputnik had illegally used LRT materials at least 1464 times in violation of copyrights. Lithuanian Sputnik had continued to distribute illegal material and had not reacted to repeated requests by the National Broadcasting service to stop the abuse of copyright infringement.
In this case, the reason for restricting access to Sputnik was copyright infringement. At the same time, the closure of Sputnik, part of the media network under the Kremlin-controlled RIA Novost, has been previously discussed due to the content published there. On 20 June, Lithuanian Seimas ambassadors, Audronius Ažubalis and Laurynas Kasčiūnas made a statement to the Bureau of the Inspector of Journalism Ethics in Lithuania, the Radio and Telecommunications Committee and the Communications Board to investigate the content of Lithuanian Sputnik.
The ambassadors referred to paragraph § 19 of the Lithuanian Public Information Act. It prohibits the media from publishing material that threatens Lithuania’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence or spreading propaganda for war as well as calling for war or hatred.
In their statement, the gentlemen, for example brought out a number of stories published by Lithuanian Sputnik with false statements about the forest brothers and resistance movements from World War II, with which the Kremlin has attempted to rewrite the history of the Baltic States.
This time the closure of Lithuanian Sputnik may be temporary, as access to the website can be restored if the illegal material is removed from their website.
The Lithuanian Sputnik server is located in Russia, which restricts access from within Lithuania. Access is still available to readers outside of Lithuania as well as when using a VPN service.