Media Blog

Lithuania: Bloggers Aren’t Journalists

Party’s over, folks. The Lithuanian parliament has spoken:

An Internet blogger in new EU member state Lithuania vowed Tuesday to fight a parliamentary decision refusing him accreditation on the grounds that he was not a legitimate journalist.
“This decision does not allow me to enjoy the rights and protection other journalists are entitled to,” Liutauras Ulevicius, author of the www.blogas.lt/liutauras, said.
Parliament rejected his application for accreditation, saying he and other bloggers do not meet the legal definition of a journalist.
“The Media Law describes a journalist as a person who collects, disseminates and provides information to the media, based on a contract with the media, or who is a member of a journalists’ union,” parliament’s education, science and culture committee said.

What a dumb decision. Some bloggers are journalists and some bloggers aren’t, and some “journalists” aren’t really journalists either. I don’t know what kind of “rights and protections” old Ulevicius was angling for here, but I do know that bloggers produced some of the best coverage of the Scooter Libby trial and — given the central role of journalists in the case — provided an essential look at the story from the outside. You don’t need a union card to do that.

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