NPC Newsmaker Program: Lithuanian journalist to discuss his fight for free speech in Europe
WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Algirdas Paleckis -- a well-known Lithuanian politician, diplomat and journalist -- has become a symbol of the fight for freedom of speech in Europe.
Paleckis is active in a political party in Lithuania, the Socialist People's Front, and is a member of the board of "World Without Nazism," a human rights organization. He describes himself as a defender of democratic and social rights in Lithuania and Europe. Paleckis regularly publishes articles on politics and economics. He is fluent in English, German, French and Russian, and also speaks Spanish and Polish.
Paleckis is threatened by the state prosecutor in Lithuania with one year in prison for revealing what Paleckis says are "inconvenient facts for the ultra-right Lithuanian government." The term "ultra-right" is used because the government proclaims many former Lithuanian Nazis as "national heroes," he says.
Lithuania broke away from the USSR in late 1991, but in January 1991, Soviet troops took over the Vilnius TV center, and 14 people died. The Lithuanian government blamed the troops but presented little evidence, and until recently did not complete the investigation. Paleckis, a former investigative journalist, said he found many witnesses, and also ballistic expertise, indicating that there were secret snipers on the roofs who were shooting into civilians in January 1991 at the Vilnius TV center. So Paleckis publicly said that "it appears that in January 1991 our own people were shooting at their natives."
The ruling party in Lithuania initiated a trial against Paleckis by writing a letter to the state prosecutor. The prosecutor then charged him with "denying the Soviet aggression against Lithuania." Paleckis won in the first court. However, the appeal session of the court is scheduled for June 12 in Vilnius.
At the National Press Club Newsmaker, Paleckis plans to discuss his fight for freedom of speech in Lithuania -- which is a NATO and European Union member country -- as well as new facts and sources.
The Newsmaker takes place at noon Thursday, June 7, in the club's Bloomberg Room. The club is on the top floor of the National Press Building, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C.
SOURCE National Press ClubBack to top