The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission (LRTK) is considering a move to force rebroadcasters to remove the Russian-language channel NTV Mir Lithuania from their free channel package, making it available only to paying subscribers.

The regulator says that it has launched a probe regarding a NTV Mir Lithuania program, broadcast on April 15, that might have breached the law with statements inciting ethnic hatred.

The commission will discuss the issue on May 18, according to LRTK Chairman Edmundas Vaitiekūnas.

"If everything is confirmed, then, as provided for by the law, cable operators and rebroadcasters will be obliged to move this channel to their paid packages," he said.

Vaitiekūnas added that NTV Mir Lithuania would remain under the commission's close watch and if further violations were found, its broadcasts could be temporarily suspended.

The LRTK has in the past repeatedly imposed a temporary ban on broadcasts of UK-registered Baltic Media Alliance Lt, which owns the Russian-language channels Ren TV Baltic, First Baltic Channel (PBK) and NTV Mir Lithuania.

Following a request from the Lithuanian regulator, the UK communications regulator OFCOM has also found violations.

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