True Lithuania

“Respublika” daily becomes weekly

2014 06 02. Continuing the major decline of Lithuanian printed media the daily "Respublika" newspaper turned into a weekly in May 2014.

This may be more significant than the recent fall of many other dailies as "Respublika" was regarded to be one of the Big 2 Lithuanian dailies together with "Lietuvos Rytas". Both were established even before 1990 Lithuanian independence and have grown and matured together with the Lithuanian state not only describing its major changes but even triggering them. Lithuanians still remember how the rampant post-Soviet mobs were finally defeated after they had murdered "Respublika" journalist Vitas Lingys in 1993 and all the media then raised up against organized crime.

Not everything remained so rosy in the 2010s with the same newspapers being accused of selling "media silence" (such accusations are even mentioned in Wikileaks-published US diplomatic cables). This year "Respublika" has been declared unethical by the regulatory authority. While the official reason is its articles that blamed certain people for their role in "Snoras" bank bankruptcy, the "Respublika" publishers expressed their belief that recent "Respublika" political activism in favor of increased Lithuanian sovereignty vs. further European Union integration may have been the true reason for what they have called censorship. The "unethical" status would have meant an increased VAT and such a tax hike would have made the newspaper hopelessly detrimental, something that a new "weekly" designation may help to avoid.

Politically conservative "Respublika" has been known for somewhat unique material as the remainder of Lithuanian mass media grown increasingly uniform in the recent years with syndicated news and foreign press translations displacing the exclusive articles. "Respublika" was known to cover issues such as conspiracy theories and interesting-yet-not-so-famous personalities, both usually avoided by mainstream media.

"Respublika" owners still retain publishing of their more popular (but less historical) daily tabloid "Vakaro Žinios" which from now on also has its Russian language version (continuing the heritage of Russian language "Respublika" daily which apparently has been more lucrative than its Lithuanian counterpart).

While the decline of printed media may be inevitable with the rise of the internet, many intellectuals mourn this fact. Lithuanian internet news websites have been known to lack quality the newspapers once boasted as they need to publish as many articles as possible to gain many search engine hits (this leads to copying, plagiarism, mistakes). Newspapers, on the other hand, have to conserve their precious printed space for the best articles and pay their journalists for quality rather than quantity.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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