Mass Media

Lithuania Table of Contents

The collapse of the communist system brought about the privatization of most publishing. Although the government still plays a role in book publishing, all newspapers and journals are privately owned, usually by limited stock companies or by private individuals. The number of periodicals has increased dramatically, and competition is intense. There are several main dailies. Lietuvos aidas was first published by the Landsbergis government but is now private, although editorially it supports Landsbergis and Sajudis. Lietuvos rytas , an independent daily, leans slightly to the left and is very conscious of the power and responsibility of the press. It is edited by the former editor of Komjaunimo tiesa , the largest daily in Lithuania, and has a circulation of more than 100,000. Tiesa now is the voice of the Democratic Labor Party after previously being published by the Communist Party of Lithuania. Respublika , founded and owned by a prize-winning journalist and former member of the Soviet Union's Congress of People's Deputies, specializes in "investigative journalism" and leans to the left.

In 1990 Lithuanian newspaper circulation and book publishing suffered a decline because of a shortage of paper, a result of the Soviet economic blockade. In 1989 Lithuanian newspaper circulation per 1,000 inhabitants was 1,223--higher than in Latvia (1,032) but lower than in Estonia (1,620). Annual circulation of magazines and other periodicals was eleven copies per inhabitant (compared with twenty-eight in Latvia and twenty-six in Estonia). Annual book and booklet publication was six copies per inhabitant (compared with six in Latvia and twelve in Estonia).

Library statistics indicate that newly published books and current periodicals are accessible to readers in remote rural areas. Lithuania had 1,885 libraries in the early 1990s, compared with 1,318 for Latvia and 629 for Estonia.

More about the Government and Politics of Lithuania.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress