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Lithuania – (E4) Minority / Alternative media

Score in short:

Media for national minorities exist only as niche media.

Score in detail:

Generally, Lithuania is an ethnically homogenous country. Lithuanians in 2009 accounted for 84 % of the country’s entire population, with none of the national minorities topping the threshold of 10 %. The largest minority in Lithuania is Polish (6.1 %), followed by Russians (4.9 %) and Belarusians (1.1 %). other minorities (Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, Latvians, Tatars and Roma) account for less than 1 % of the population.

Lithuanian legislation does not include any special quotas for language and minority groups. Business daily (Verslo žinios) and several news portals (, as well as the portal of the public service broadcaster (, publish news in the English language, while public television and radio have programs for minorities in Polish, Russian and yiddish, and (the biggest news portal in the Baltic States) also has its edition in Russian.

LRT has 12 full-time staff members who produce programs in minority languages (Russian, Polish, Belorussian, Ukrainian and yiddish); however, its daily news program in English, broadcasted on LR1 for 44 years, was terminated due to financial cuts10.

The Law on LRT does not set specific quotas, but includes some specific requirements for LTV. For instance, it obliges LTV to allot time to Lithuania’s traditional and State-recognized religious communities to broadcast religious services in accordance with the conditions and procedure stipulated in bilateral agreements between the public broadcaster and various religious communities. LTV also airs three weekly programs for religious communities (Catholics, the Evangelical community and for the Christian orthodox community). It also airs masses during the most important Catholic religious events. Roman Catholics in Lithuania comprise a majority. According to the last census in 2001, 79 % of the population consider themselves Catholic, 4.1 % orthodox, and none of the other religious persuasions account for more than one per cent of the population. In 2009, programming for national minorities accounted for 1 % of LTV’s broadcasting time. The Fund for the Support of the Press, Radio and Television annually allocates some public subsidies to minority and alternative media. The annual budget of the Fund is around 5 million Litas (1.5 million Euro), and the sources of funding are state subsidies, license tax on commercial broadcasters, and other funds.