Lithuanian Jewish Community Responds to Proposed Legislation to Censor “Goods”

The Lithuanian Government has sent proposed amendments on the consumer-protection law to parliament for consideration which would ban sales of goods which “distort the historical facts of Lithuania or belittle Lithuania’s history, independence, territorial integrity and constitutional order.”

Proponents of the amendments say they’re needed to stop sales of toys which allegedly commemorate the incorporation of the Crimean Peninsula into the Russian Federation. Lithuanian legal, trade and consumer experts say the amendments aren’t specific and that anything which is sold is a “good,” meaning the law could be used to censor books.

Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky has made the following statement regarding the matter:

“These kinds of amendments without precise explanation raise well-founded concerns and recall the dark times of government censorship. History and the writing of annual chronicles are two different things. Historical memory, especially concerning our country’s greatest historical tragedy, the Holocaust, is still in its beginning stages and probably won’t ever be final. These sorts of foolish, misguided attempts by the Government to protect consumer rights have given rise to anger, with foundation, in the international Jewish community. In Europe, where anti-Semitism is on the rise, and especially in Central and Eastern Europe, where laws are being passed on the ‘appropriate’ interpretation of history, Lithuania must remain open and democratic. Freedom of speech and human rights must be insured in our country just as actively as the calls to fight for the protection of consumer rights through these amendments.”