‘The Baltic Times’ Does it Again

The 2 September 2010 issue of the Baltic Times carried an unsigned editorial on the Opinion page that refers to Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office, and the author of Operation Last Chance [excerpt here], as someone who ‘plays Moscow’s political games’, in line with local far-right efforts to tar with a McCarthyist brush of alleged communism those who speak out against racism, antisemitism, and Holocaust revisionism.

The accusation is attributed to  Arkadijus Vinokuras, who is the Lithuanian government’s official advisor on Jewish affairs and who seems to tend toward characterizing independent Jewish thought in the country in line with the far-right nationalist camp’s attribution of opposing points of view as ‘Moscow’.

See from 2009 another Baltic Times gem (at least that one was signed by its author).

Alas, there have also been instances where the paper is grade-one stomping ground for the Dirty Tricks Department (e.g. here).

Moreover, in March 2010, the paper carried a front page headline condemning Riga’s city council for trying to ban the Waffen SS march in the capital’s center.

Sadly, the newspaper, once a paragon of journalistic fairness, is increasingly seen to be declining into the role of mouthpiece for the far-right ultranationalist establishment in the region, regularly dressing it all up as impartial news or mainstream editorial opinion, and feeding it onward to an unsuspecting readership.  It is this misrepresentation which is a threat to democracy in the region. See Darius Ross’s tweet (13 Sept).

While it is increasingly difficult to find anything redeeming on the Lithuania pages, the editor-in-chief, Dorian Ziedonis, based in Riga, did not hesitate to publish replies, including  Dr Zuroff’s op-ed which was however downgraded to a ‘Letter to the Editor’ (16 Sept), and our own letter (29 Sept). While the Riga-edited opinion pages are still open to replies, the dismal Lithuania section has become a provincial far-right exclusive domain that is shameful for the paper and the region.

[Updated 1 October 2010]

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