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Baltic Media Alliance head resigns following indignation over TV program on January 1991 events

Jolanta Butkevičienė
„Scanpix"/Tomo Juodaičio nuotr. / Jolanta Butkevičienė
Šaltinis: BNS
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Jolanta Butkevičienė, head of the Baltic Media Alliance, owner of the Russian-language First Baltic Channel, is resigning after the channel aired a program about the January 13, 1991, events in Lithuania.

In a statement on Friday, Butkevičienė called the program, which presented skewed and inaccurate statements on an attempted coup, an act of provocation against the State of Lithuania and said it was incompatible with her convictions and values as a Lithuanian citizen.

"Even the fact that the BMA is only a re-broadcaster of TV channels, does not absolve it from responsibility. I am deeply convinced that this program is not only a mistake, it's an act of provocation against the State of Lithuania," Butkevičienė said in the statement.

She said she had learned all the circumstances of how the program came out and called it unacceptable that the control mechanism in Latvia failed.

"We all went through the January 13 tragedy. Out of respect for the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for Lithuania's independence, out of respect for my family – as my father and my brother, who was later awarded a January 13 medal, were outside the Seimas that night – I must say that as the head of the BMA LT, I cannot continue performing the existing duties and I am resigning as director general of the BMA LT," Butkevičienė said.

False statements about the Soviet aggression against Lithuania on January 13, 1991, were made during the First Baltic Channel's broadcast "Man and Law" on October 4 and included an interview with Mikhail Golovatov, the then commander of the Alpha Group that stormed the TV Tower in Vilnius, and other people who denied the military attack.

Fourteen people were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and special forces to take over the Vilnius TV Tower on January 13, 1991, and more than 1,000 unarmed civilians were injured.

BNS
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