Media release of 22 December 2009
(from the Seimas plenary sittings)
The Seimas adopted the Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 of the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information. Voting results: for 58, against 4, abstained 25.
The law establishes the criteria of public information having a detrimental effect on minors, the information dissemination procedure, the rights, duties and responsibilities of the information producers, disseminators and their participants, journalists and the institutions carrying out the supervision of their activities. The provisions of the law apply to all public information.
Public information that may be detrimental to mental or physical health of minors or their physical, intellectual, spiritual or moral development shall be considered information having a detrimental effect on minors.
Public information having a detrimental effect on minors shall be considered the information:
1) which is of a violent nature, promotes aggression and disrespect for life;
2) which promotes property damage or destruction;
3) which displays the body of a dead, dying or cruelly mutilated person taken in close-up, except when such a display is necessary for establishing a persons identity;
4) which is of an erotic nature;
5) which arouses fear or horror;
6) which promotes gambling, encourages or offers to take part in gambling, lotteries and other games which form an impression of an easy win;
7) in which dependence on narcotic, toxic, psychotropic substances, tobacco or alcohol as well as other substances which are used or may be used for intoxication purposes are positively assessed and the use, production, distribution or acquisition thereof is promoted;
8) which promotes self-mutilation or suicide, specifies suicide measures and circumstances;
9) in which criminal acts are positively assessed or criminals are idealised;
10) which relates to the imitation of criminal acts;
11) which promotes conduct that degrades human dignity;
12) in which a person or a group of people are mocked at or humiliated on grounds of nationality, race, sex, origin, disability, sexual orientation, social status, language, religion, beliefs, views, or any other similar grounds;
13) which demonstrates fake paranormal phenomena forming an impression that these phenomena are real;
14) which promotes sexual abuse and exploitation of minors as well as sexual intercourse of minors;
15) which promotes sexual intercourse;
16) which scorns family values and promotes the concept of marriage and family formation, other than stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania;
17) in which obscene sayings, words or gestures are used;
18) which advises on how to manufacture, acquire or use explosives, narcotic or psychotropic substances as well as other items dangerous to life or health;
19) which promotes bad eating and hygiene habits and lack of physical exercise;
20) which displays a mass hypnosis session aimed at affecting the mass media audience.
The draft Law on the Protection of Minors was returned to the Seimas Committee on Education, Science and Culture after parliamentarians, having deliberated the draft in the Seimas, again included the provision restricting information that prohibits promotion of homosexual relations, which had been criticised by human rights defenders.
The Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, which was passed by the Seimas but did not come into effect, received criticism from international non-governmental organisations; the European Parliament also urged the Seimas to amend this law.