Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė: Governments must protect democracy and the media

“The global health crisis has highlighted how widespread fake news is and how destructive it can be to our societies by undermining cohesion and instigating social unrest.

Social tensions, emerging in the context of the crisis, have weakened the world’s democracy indicators and media freedom. A wave of demonstrations against the response to Covid-19 and media has swept across Europe.

At same time, the rise of fake news and disinformation has emphasised the role of the public service media (PSM) as the primary source of reliable and trustworthy information in the rapidly changing crisis situation. PSM also gained its prominence in exposing disinformation and enhancing public solidarity in the face of the pandemic.

To safeguard democracy and strengthen society’s resilience to crises, governments have to employ their best efforts to communicate their decisions better, protect independent media, and ensure journalists’ safety as a cornerstone of democracy. It is their responsibility to guarantee conditions, i.e., through sustainable and sufficient funding, for public service media independence, competitiveness, and contribution to society.”

Monika Garbačiauskaitė-Budrienė is Chief Executive Officer of the Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) and participant of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium.