We successfully defended the Union of Lithuanian journalists and other journalists’ interests in a case investigated by Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court regarding defence of the constitutional right to receive, to collect and to share information.

Court affirms that the Government violated journalists’ rights

The Union of Lithuanian journalists and other concerned journalists went to court when the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania refused to make available ‒ and deleted ‒ the record of a ministers’ meeting that took place on 3 October 2018. During this meeting ministers discussed a new project on the Law on Public information.

The court stated that the Office violated the rights of journalists to receive, to collect and to share information. This order by the Court is final and unappealable. Even though the proceedings regarding the deleted record were terminated due to the fact that it is impossible to restore it, the court acknowledged the fact that during the time when journalists asked for a record it did exist, but the Office still refused to make it available.

Society’s right to know is fundamental

This case is significant for formation of Lithuanian court practice. Based on this decision by the court, the Government will be obliged to report on what happens during its meetings.

Partner Kęstutis Švirinas, who represented the client in court, comments: “With this decision the court defended the public interest and the principles of democracy, at the same time highlighting that the main function of the media is to inform society and no one can disturb journalists’ right to be informed about government activities. In a democracy the public sector works for citizens, whose right to know what decisions are made is therefore fundamental. With this decision the court stopped further discussion, whether the Government can hide information from the society. I hope there will be no such cases in the future.”

Our team representing the client

Our Dispute resolution team represented the client in courts at all instances, paying special attention to analysis and application of Constitutional court doctrines and international courts’ interpretations; prepared proceedings documents and advised journalists on all related matters.

The client was represented by Kęstutis Švirinas, senior associate Aušra Gaurytė and associate Domantė Lunytė.