TeliaSonera and its Lithuanian subsidiary TEO have adopted a group policy on freedom of expression in telecommunications.
Under it, the two companies say they will “whenever possible, report on our efforts in relation to such as blocking or restricting access to specific services or content”.
The companies cite two separate occasions in March and April this year when the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTC) ordered all Lithuanian TV providers to block programmes from Russia’s NTV Mir and RTR Planeta. They are not of EU or EEA origin, which ratified the Councils’ of Europe Convention on TV without frontiers.
It adds that the LRTC assessed that one programme on each of the channels contained disinformation and inducement to hatred. The suspension, which has been sanctioned by court, is valid for three months and has been implemented by TEO despite it, together with 27 other providers, appealing the NTV Mir decision.
TEO argued that operators are not able to decide which programmes are of which origin, and operators cannot execute the court’s decision as to programmes. “It is our view that the Court should issue appropriate instructions on how to implement the decision in such circumstances”.
The court dismissed the appeal based on the argument that the decision cannot be appealed.
TEO and the other TV providers are appealing this decision, with the telco also appealing against the one regarding RTR Planeta.