Freedom of Expression Restricted: Sexual Orientation in Advertising Now Prohibited

A new amendment to Lithuania’s Provision of Information Act came info effect last week It bans the “manifestation or promotion” of sexual orientation in advertising and audiovisual commercial communications.

This new law goes even further then the amendments to the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information, which came into effect on March 1 this year.

The Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) points out that the new law applies not only to information to minors, but information in general to adults.

“This Law is obviously meant to restrict information and ‘promotion’ of homosexual relationships,” a spokesperson said.

“There is a strong possibility that [the new Law] will be used in the future against LGBT-related information.”

Definitions of “audiovisual commercial communication” and “advertising” are given in Article 2 of the new Law:

“Audiovisual commercial communication means images with or without sound which are designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of an entity pursuing an economic activity and which are included in TV programme in return for payment or for similar consideration or for self-promotional purposes. Forms of audiovisual commercial communication include, inter alia, television advertising, sponsorship, teleshopping and product placement.

“Advertising means information broadcast in any form and by any means, except for TV commercials, whether in the interests of the advertiser or for self-promotional purposes in connection with a person’s economic, commercial, financial or professional activity in order to promote the purchase of goods and services, including the purchase of immovable property and the transfer of rights and obligations.”

Article 39 of the Law on Provision of Information has been amended to read:

“Advertising and audiovisual commercial communication must be decent, fair, and identifiable. Advertising and audiovisual commercial communication must not prejudice respect for human dignity, discrimination on grounds of race, sex or ethnic origin, nationality, citizenship, religion or faith, disability, and age, also must not contain manifestation or promotion of sexual orientation, be offensive to religious or political beliefs, encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety, also behaviour largely detrimental to environmental protection.”


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