Dabar populiaru
Published: 26 october 2012 13:25

Head of journalists' union acquitted of libel against media group owner

Dainius Radzevičius
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Dainius Radzevičius

A Vilnius court acquitted Dainius Radzevičius, chairman of the Lithuanian Journalists' Union, of libeling Respublikos Leidiniai (Respublika Publications) media group owner Vitas Tomkus.

The court annulled the conviction handed down by a lower court in the end of June, saying that Radzevičius did not do anything that would feature characteristics of a crime or a criminal offense.

The Friday's ruling in the case is final, as laws do not envisage further appeals.

“I believe the verdict brings back the right for journalists to make problems public," Radzevičius said after the acquittal.

The lower court had ordered the head of the Journalists' Union to pay a fine of 2,600 litas (EUR 753.6) and pay 10,000 litas in non-pecuniary damages to Tomkus who had initially asked for 1 million litas.

After Friday's ruling, the civil claim will not be opened.

The publisher had filed a private claim, saying Radzevičius had defamed him in his personal blog by citing a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. The cable claimed that some Lithuanian media outlets coerced advertisers into placing ads by threatening them with smear campaigns.

Radzevičius told the court he was not guilty and said the comment he was accused for had to do with ethics and problems of journalists, not with Tomkus. Radzevičius said the blog entry referred to specific media companies mentioned in several sources.

BNS
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