On Tuesday, the court dismissed the case brought by Respublika Publications against 15 min, which was accused of damaging the claimant's professional reputation.
Publisher of Respublika daily Vitas Tomkus had asked the court to award his company 0.5 million litas in damages because of the WikiLeaks information published by 15min.
The court, however, ruled in the defendent's favour and ordered Mr Tomkus to cover court expenses, 4,3 thousand litas, as well as 36.25 litas of postal fees.
The published information concerned the behind-the-scenes operations of the Lithuanian media and was based on diplomatic wires from the US Embassy in Vilnius, acquired and leaked by WikiLeaks.
Similar stories also appeared in business daily Verslo Žinios and online news portal Delfi. Respublika Publications had previously brought civil claims against the two outlets. The same Vilnius District Court had similarly dismissed them.
The latest ruling by judge Danutė Kutrienė specifies that the information published by 15min was based on an original report by a Norwegian daily, Aftenposten. According to the court ruling, the defendant in the case cannot be held accountable under the Law of Informing the Public, since the original source of the information in question has not been challenged nor proven false.
The report published in Aftenposten, one of Norway's oldest and most influential dailies with the circulation of over 250 thousand, discussed corruption in the Lithuanian media and heavily indicted Mr Tomkus' media group.
Judge Kutrienė noted that the court was not ruling whether or not allegations about Respublika were true; the decision was based on the fact that Respublika Publications had not challenged their original source, Aftenposten.
The court dismissed the claimant's arguments that a Lithuanian news outlet should not be allowed to run just any stories only because they appear in foreign media. The judge, however, noted that the law stipulated no civil responsibility for quoting information from other media sources. According to the judge, there cannot be exceptions based on the fact that the original source is a foreign publication, as this would compromise the Lithuanian public's right to be informed about developments abroad.
Mr Tomkus can appeal within 30 days after the ruling.