The Lithuanian parliament's ad hoc investigative commission scrutinizing the finances of the Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) proposes in its draft findings to change the public broadcaster's management structure.
© DELFI / Andrius Ufartas

According to the draft document, the LRT Council would remain responsible for the contents and its management functions would be transferred to the board, a new institution.

LRT Director General Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė told BNS that she had not yet read the proposals and that it would be premature to comment on them.

"I cannot comment on that proposal until the details are clear as to how that board will be formed, what its competencies will be and what processes it will regulate," the director general said.

"Whatever the management model, what is paramount is that efficiency is ensured," she added.

Under the draft document, the LRT Council would appoint members of the board for a term of five years from candidates selected through a public competitive process, or from a list of candidates compiled by a selection committee under the council.

Another option would be for executive members of the board to be chosen and appointed by the council and independent members to be selected by the government and appointed by the council.

The board would have five to seven members, whose appointment, rights and duties would be effectively regulated by the Law on Companies.

The LRT director general would also serve as the chairperson of the board, but the majority of other members would have to be independent, that is, to hold no other positions in the national broadcaster.

The commission also proposes to partially change the rules for appointing members of the LRT Council.

Currently, four members of the 12-strong council are appointed at different times by the president and the Seimas each, and one member by the Lithuanian Research Council, the Lithuanian Education Council, the Lithuanian Artistic Unions' Association and Lithuanian Bishops' Conference each.

The Seimas established the ad hoc commission in late December 2017 to scrutinize the public broadcaster's public procurement processes and contracts and analyze its management structure.

Critics describe the probe as an effort to put political pressure on the media.

A group of opposition lawmakers have asked the Constitutional Court to look at whether the establishment of the commission is in line with the constitutional principle of the freedom of expression.

BNS
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