Lithuanian psychologists say censoring information on LGBT issues does harm to minors

The Union of Lithuanian Psychologists has issued a statement, criticizing a ban on airing a social video ad about LGBT rights on television. Broadcasters have refused to air the video, saying it would violate a controversial minors protection law, but psychologists claim censorship of this kind is what does harm to children rather than messages on LGBT people.
Lithuanian psychologists say censoring information on LGBT issues does harm to minors
© DELFI (K.Čachovskio nuotr.)

The statement comes in response to the inspector of journalist ethics' conclusion that a social video ad about LGBT people, produced by the Lithuanian Gay League, is detrimental to minors and therefore it must be broadcast only at late hours and bear a warning label.

"The video has no contents that would be scientifically proven to have negative influence on the emotional, spiritual and psychological development and health of minors. The Union of Lithuanian Psychologists believes not the mentioned video is detrimental, but the ban to speak in public about stigma-related difficulties and discrimination faced by LGBT people in our society, about raising awareness and promote acceptance," the Union said in the statement.

Antanas Mockus of the Union told BNS on Tuesday the statement represented the view of the organization uniting around 500 professionals.

The Union says the hostile anti-gay stance is detrimental to teenagers and is one of the suicide risk factors among teenagers in Lithuania.

In September, the inspector of journalist ethics signed a conclusion drawn up by four experts, stating that the video about LGBT rights "has a detrimental effect on minors' emotional, spiritual, mental development and health and proper formation of fundamental life values".

The conclusion was drawn up in response to the national broadcaster LRT's refusal to air the video as it might breach the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.

The law defines as detrimental any information "which expresses contempt for family values, encourages the concept of marriage and family other than stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania".

The video ad features a young man wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "For Family Diversity", and there's also a caption "Family is Family" under a rainbow flag.

The Lithuanian Gay League said that, based on the conclusion, another TV channel, TV3, decided to air the video only after 11 PM.

The organization has appealed against the conclusion.

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