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Lithuania bans Voice of Russia

Lithuania's TV and Radio commission has refused the country's radio station permission to carry programmes by the Voice of Russia. Officials say the move was needed to guard citizens from the “influence of Russian propaganda.”

The Baltic Waves Radio project manager, Rimantas Pleikys, views it as an act of political censorship. He says the move is strange because Baltic Waves Radio has been re-broadcasting the programmes of various radio stations from both the West and the East for eight years.

“But when we applied for a permission to put the programmes of the Voice of Russia on air, the Lithuanian TV and Radio Commission refused us permission. We view it as an act of a political censorship. It is highly unexpected in this country,” Pleikys said.

He added that they hadn't previously had any objections against Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty or Chinese or Polish radio.

The Voice of Russia is a government-funded radio station broadcasting worldwide in 32 different languages.

It was launched back in October 1929. The station has more than a hundred million listeners in 160 countries.

The station reports on events in Russia and the CIS and delivers Russia's viewpoint on major international events. Its programmes include interviews, documentaries about Russia's culture and history, lessons in Russian and theatre performances. News and comment, however, make up most of the air time.

The online service launched in 1996 provides live transmissions and a podcasting service.