- August 22, 2014
Post submitted by Ashley Fowler, former HRC Global Coordinator
Lithuanian television broadcasters have refused to air a video clip that features several LGBT couples as well as allies. The video was produced by the national LGBT rights organization LGL and was meant to be a positive representation of the LGBT community, as a part of their larger campaign “Change It”.
While the video itself does not contain anything provocative, commercial broadcasters fear that it may be in violation of the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. This law forbids information “which expresses contempt for family values, encourages the concept of entry into a marriage and creation of a family other than stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania.”
In an interview with Delfi, television representatives said the video raised some red flags because it spoke about various family models that differ from what is traditionally accepted. The video will now be reviewed by the Inspector of Journalist Ethics, though that could be a lengthy process.
LGL’s “Change It” campaign, which encourages people to learn more about the LGBT community and combats common stereotypes and misconceptions, began in response to recent survey data that revealed that only 12% of Lithuanian citizens say they know at least one gay, lesbian, or bisexual person.
This is not the first time that censorship has occurred in Lithuania with regard to the LGBT community. Last fall, a video promoting Baltic Pride was found to be in violation of the minors’ protection law. The video included a man wearing a shirt saying “For Family Diversity” and was therefore rated “S” for adult content and only showed after 11 PM.
Lithuania’s so-called anti-propaganda law is very similar to laws in Nigeria and Russia that aim to limit or prevent the distribution of pro-LGBT messages and information.