22:25 31 May 2021
Post by: WBJ

Lithuanian ambassador about media freedom, judiciary independence, and healthcare system

Eduardas Borisovas, the Lithuanian ambassador, told the WBJ about media freedom, judiciary independence, and the healthcare system in Lithuania

Lithuanian ambassador about media freedom, judiciary independence, and healthcare system

How free is the media in your country?

Article 25 of our constitution provides that everyone shall have the right to have their own convictions and freely express them. No one must be hindered from seeking, receiving or imparting information and ideas. To ensure the freedom of the media, Article 44 adds that the censorship of mass information is prohibited. The state, political parties, political and public organizations and other institutions or persons are not allowed to monopolize mass media. Freedom House’s latest annual report deems Lithuania “free.” The latest World Press Freedom Index prepared annually by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Lithuania 28 among 180 nations and territories. The main areas for improvement of the media sector include greater transparency in media ownership (including indirect political ownership). In recent years, the use of media in Lithuania has intensified and noticeably increased.

How independent is the judiciary?

The recent European Commission‘s rule of law report praises our justice system for its efficiency, its use of digital tools and the fact that some of the court activities have been maintained during the Covid-19 pandemic. The areas for improvement, highlighted in the report, include anti-corruption work and reforms on the appointment of judges, modifications of the judicial map and the structure of the Supreme Court, which would further improve the independence of the judiciary. Although public confidence in courts has been steadily improving since 2010, a judicial corruption scandal in February 2019 significantly damaged it, when 26 people, including eight senior judges (one of them a member of the Supreme Court) and five lawyers, were detained and charged with bribery and abuse of public duties. Five of the eight judges were subsequently dismissed.

How good is the healthcare system in your country?

Lithuania has made remarkable progress in reshaping its health system since the 1990s and now it provides adequate and equitable access to healthcare. Our healthcare system is based on largescale primary care centers, small-to-medium-sized hospitals, which are equipped with modern equipment and supported by professional specialists. Despite regularly developed e-health systems and networks of private medical institutions, there are still some shortages that could be improved — rationalization of the hospital sector, lack of some specialists in the regions, etc. We have one of the highest ratios of hospital beds in relation to population in the EU. During the pandemic, it turned out to be a real advantage. Because of this reason, Lithuania never reached such a critical level when hospitals were unable to accept a patient who needed medical help.

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