Stirring up a nest of censors

Back in January, the Catholic Church in Lithuania sued MTV Lietuva for transmitting Popetown, complaining that it somehow violated the rights of the faithful.

Now, Lithuanias 13 member Radio and Television Commission has imposed a fine (via) of 3000 litas (€870) on Marius Veselis, the director of MTV Networks Baltic for airing the programme.

A spokeswoman for MTV Lietuva said Mr Veselis would appeal.

The commission made its decision after the Inspector of Journalists Ethics, Romas Gudaitis, said Popetown should be banned because it portrayed the clergy as destructive and incited religious discrimination.

MTV has described Mr Gudaitiss stand as an attempt to limit freedom of expression and thought, and rejected suggestions that Popetown insulted Catholics. And, in a statement issued last month, Mr Veselis said that the reaction to Popetown had unmasked Lithuania as a sort of half-medieval, half-communist, sick culture.

Popetown prosecutions

Media Watch Watch is reporting that the Catholic Church in Lithuania is planning to sue MTV Lietuva for transmitting Popetown.

According to Sigitas Tamkevicius of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference: The Popetown series is not only an insult to the pope, but to all the Catholics of Lithuania. he also claimed that the rights of the faithful were violated, but didnt specify which rights these are.

Ema Segal, a spokeswoman for MTV Lietuva, said: This is just an artistic satire and nothing more. We neither attempted to mock the religion, nor God himself. Not that there is anything wrong with mocking either religion or god - in fact, we could do with more of it.