Court clarifies that the free press in Lithuania must be destroyed

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Court clarifies that the free press in Lithuania must be destroyed

Aurimas Drižius

On 22 February, a panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court, Audrius Bakavecas (chairman of the panel – pictured above, introducing himself as a book author, Arūnas Dirvonas and Milda Vainienė, ruled that the website, which has been blocked for a year now and is inaccessible to Lithuanian citizens, must remain blocked and inaccessible to Lithuanian citizens, as it publishes information unacceptable to the government and the „legal system”.

On 25 May 2022, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court granted the request of the so-called Office of the Inspector of Journalists’ Ethics (Žeit) to close down the public information portal ŽEIT applied for the closure of the portal.

The Court granted this application by ŽEIT and ordered the closure of the portal. By the way, the court heard the case „in absentia”, without notifying the defendant and without us knowing anything about it. It was only from third parties that I learned of this decision, and then I applied to the court for access to the ruling, but the court refused to do so, stating that was not a „party” to the case, even though it had been ordered to close the portal.

Even though the decision concerned the portal that I administer directly. UAB „Grėsmės nacionaliniam augumui” is the administrator of this portal, and I am the editor-in-chief. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Lithuania
Administrative Court has twice rejected my request for reopening, stating that my rights and obligations have not been violated in any way.
I cannot accept this in any way and I demand that the Supreme Administrative Court stop falsifying its rulings when considering my applications. I pointed out that the portal had been closed down, as the lawyers say, by „legal banditry”,
„by default”.

I applied to the court, and indicated that I was requesting the reopening of the administrative case in question, since Article 156 of the Law on Administrative Justice (ABT Law) provides that the portal should be reopened. The grounds for reopening the proceedings provide that cases which have been closed by a final court decision or order,
proceedings may be reopened on the grounds and in accordance with the procedure laid down in this Chapter. The proceedings may be reopened on the following grounds:
(7) where the decision of the court decides on the rights or obligations of persons not involved in the proceedings;

I pointed out that Administrative Case No eI2-4813-983-2022 was heard without any notification to the interested party, the media outlet, and without any information about the case being provided to it.
without any knowledge of the case and without submitting a reply.
However, the court in the aforementioned case found that the media outlet (hereinafter referred to as ‘the portal’) had violated the laws of the Republic of Lithuania and ordered its closure.

Nevertheless, the court refused to grant access to the order in the present case, which directly concerns the person concerned – the applicant in the present case, the administrator of the portal, Aurimas Drižius, and the portal’s administrator
the company administering the portal. The court stated that I am not entitled to do so because I am not a party to the case.

As an example of legal banditry, I also consider the ruling of the Chamber of the High Administrative Court of 21.12.2022 in administrative case No eP-105-556/2022 (Trial No 3-61-3-02216-2022-0), in which
the aforementioned court examined my request for access to the aforementioned case and stated: „In the assessment of the Panel, in the present case, the Company cannot be considered as a person excluded from the proceedings, which is a person who is not a party to the proceedings, as provided for by the Law on Administrative Procedure and Court of Justice 157
(1) of Article 157(1) of the Law on Administrative Proceedings), as there is no evidence in the case file, and the Company has not provided any evidence, that it was not a party to the proceedings in Administrative Case No.
There is no evidence that the court has ruled on the Company’s rights or obligations in a final decision adopted in the administrative procedure eI2-4813-983/2022 and that such a court decision may therefore infringe the Company’s rights or interests protected by law. All of the above leads the Chamber of Judges to conclude that the application to reopen the proceedings has been lodged by a person who is not entitled to lodge it.

In other words, the aforementioned Chamber stated that the court had ordered the closure of the portal without the applicant’s knowledge, but it stated that the court’s decision did not deal in any way with the portal’s ‘rights and obligations’. I call such court rulings legal thuggery and have appealed to the Judicial
to the Commission for Ethics and Disciplinary Action for the constant falsification of documents by this ruling.
I repeat: the court has violated our rights by ordering the closure of the portal, in direct violation of our rights of defence. Any other conclusion or judicial reflection is falsification of documents.

The Supreme Administrative Court is pretending that it does not understand what I want by now, and I am not presenting new facts.
These new facts are as follows: the Supreme Administrative Court forged its own order by inserting in it a deliberately false and self-invented statement that „In the view of the Panel, the Company cannot be considered as an excluded party in this case… as there is no evidence in the case and the Company has not submitted any
that… the court has ruled on the Company’s rights or obligations and that, therefore, such a court decision is likely to infringe the Company’s rights or interests protected by law’.

I have provided the court with proof that the domain is owned by UAB „Threats to National Security”, with an official link from the domain registry


If the court continues to interpret that the administrator and owner of cannot act on behalf of the portal, please clarify for me who then represents the portal in court and who can defend its

I cannot believe that the chambers of the Supreme Administrative Court are so reckless in falsifying their rulings. I have no doubt that such forgeries are the revenge of the former President of the Supreme Administrative Court, Gintaras Kryževičius, for the portal
publications about this judge.

Concerning the applicant, the Office of the Inspector of Journalists’ Ethics
The portal has long been persecuted by a criminal government body called the Council of the Inspector of Journalists’ Ethics, which has nothing to do with ethics and whose function is to shut down media channels that criticise the government.
The above-mentioned ŽEIT, as early as 18 March 2022, appealed to all Internet service providers to restrict access to the portal, i.e. to close it. This has been done: since 2022, the portal has been suspended and access to it has been blocked on the initiative of the criminal organisation ŽEIT.
We immediately took the decision of the ŽEIT to court. This court fully upheld my complaint in a ruling on 22 December last year, declaring that the above-mentioned action by the ŽEIT was unlawful. HRIC
has repeatedly lied in this case, but has not produced a single piece of evidence that we have spread disinformation or war propaganda.
In other words, the closure of, which has been going on since 18 March last year until today, is a completely illegal and damaging restriction of press freedom.
However, the defendant ŽEIT, as soon as it received the summons, drew up another order, and applied to the court for
the portal again.

This time, the court and the HRIT were more cautious – they did not warn the defendant and dealt with the case „in absentia”, and the HRIT’s complaint was upheld. In my view, this constitutes malicious prosecution and the destruction of press freedom.

By the way, the Law on Public Information stipulates that at the request of ŽEIT, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court may suspend a media outlet for up to 3 months if it „clearly, seriously and gravely violates the requirements of this law” and not for the first time.

The portal has already been blocked for almost 12 months, from 18 March 2022 until now.
The Court’s decision to block the portal violates all the articles of the Law on Administrative Offences guaranteeing the right to a fair trial. ŽEIT has breached all the requirements of the law by blocking the portal for ten months, even though the law provides for a maximum of three months. The portal could only be blocked for serious breaches of the law, which is not the case here.

The fact that we are being harmed on a daily basis by the unlawful harassment of HRIC and that around 100,000 readers are unable to read the portal only adds to the damage that we are suffering, which will eventually have to be compensated by HRIC, and I therefore ask the court to take interim measures to order HRIC to withdraw any and all
any blocking of access to I request the Court to order in writing that ŽEIT immediately inform all Internet service providers of the lifting of the block.

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