| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Lithuania tightens state of emergency, limits free speech

According to voting records, Lithuania’s parliament imposed a stricter state of emergency on Thursday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, limiting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The legislation, which is in effect until at least April 20, allows police to block access to a media outlet for up to 72 hours for “disinformation,” “war propaganda,” and “incitement of hatred” related to the invasion, according to parliament.

The motion received 71 votes out of 117 cast by members of parliament, requiring only a simple majority to pass.

“This motion limits the ability to say that ‘Putin is great’ in (public) meetings, and to spread war propaganda and disinformation,” Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte told members of parliament.

“I think no one in this parliament hall is interested to have this poison Lithuanian people’s determination and will to help Ukraine,” she said.

Lithuania’s president on Feb. 24 declared a state of emergency hours after Russia began its invasion, telling the NATO country’s army to deploy along its borders with Russia and Belarus.

  • Reuters