MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The ruling dismissed the complaint of Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency regarding the unilateral decision of the Lithuanian Baltic News Service (BNS) to terminate its contract with Sputnik Lithuania on the delivery of information materials.
The Vilnius district court has dismissed Rossiya Segodnya's complaint on BNS's unilateral termination of cooperation with Sputnik, with the former adjudged legal expenses in the amount of some 1,497 euros ($1,673). The court's decision was not supported by any specific facts or evidence.
"Due to this fact, the Sputnik international news agency and radio intend to file an appeal against the first instance court's decision considering it unjustified and illegal," the agency's press service said.
The Vilnius district court ruled out that "although the contract did not include an article on the possibility of unilateral termination of the contract by the defendant, the collected evidence shows that the plaintiff acted illegally and dishonest toward the defendant by spreading false information."
However, the decision contained no evidence that Sputnik was spreading misinformation or guidance to which section of Lithuanian law the agency had violated.
"The plaintiff clearly violated the interests of the state of Lithuania, foreign countries and society or its part as in the BNS flow of information, spread by the channel of the plaintiff — Sputnik — there also was propagandist distorted information… Therefore, the defendant…. had the right to terminate the contract," the court stated.
Commenting on the issue, Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan compared the situation in Lithuania with a "circus show."
"We continue to watch this circus show in Lithuania, where they implement now the notorious European values, in particular, freedom of expression, at the state level," Simonyan said.
Sputnik Lithuania press service reported in late January about the BNS's decision to terminate the contract with the agency. According to the press release, BNS chief Tomo Balzeko sent a relevant letter to the Sputnik office, saying that the cooperation would end on February 1, albeit without providing a reason for such a decision.
The press service said that the termination of the contract came as a surprise for the agency, as Sputnik had fully implemented all the obligations in time.
In March, Sputnik filed a lawsuit against the BNS at a court in Vilnius.
BNS’s decision was just one in a series of actions against the Sputnik brand in the Baltic states. In spring 2016, Sputnik Latvia had its website blocked for allegedly violating a resolution of the Council of the EU on Ukraine.
Sputnik is a news agency and radio network with multimedia news hubs in dozens of countries. Sputnik broadcasts through its websites in over 30 languages, as well as analog and digital radio, mobile apps and social media. Sputnik newswires, available by subscription, run around the clock in English, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.