Attention to : management of “Reitanngruppen”
I am writing this letter complaining about the decisions of management of “Reitangruppen” subsidiary “Press Express” in Lithuania.
I am Aurimas Drizius, the editor of Lithuanian weekly newspaper “Laisvas laikrastis”, and we were cooperating with “Press Express” for more than ten years. In fact, we were delivering 4000 copies of our publication to “Press Express” weekly, and received half of the money from the sales. I calculated, that “Press Express” was making around 50 thousand euro per year selling our publication.
The management of ‘Press Express” never tried to influence the content of our publication. Until 31th of December last year, when I received an email from manager of “Press Express”, Mrs. Irmina Zitkauskiene, informing me, that ‘Press Express” stops selling and distributing of “Laisvas laikrastis” from next day. The formal reason was also explained to me in written form: that decision was made because our publication “Laisvas laikrastis” was named unethical by the goverment‘s body Media etchicall commission. In fact, that commission is the government’s body, which aim is to suppress the free press in Lithuania. Our publication is well known as a very critical towards our corrupted government, so they decided to proclaim us “unetchical” . And that commission declares its motives : the headlines of our publication did not reflect the content of the publication. Of course, it is nonsense, that some government appointed biurocrats decide, what the headlines of the publication should be. We went to the court, but the management of “Press Express” did not wait for the court’s decision, and informer us, that from next day they will stop selling “Laisvas laikrastis”.
Since “Press Express” has a monopoly of selling publication to outlets in Lithuania, that decision will have a major impact on us. In fact, that decision means, that our publication will be shut, since people can not find it in the story. We receive hundreds of call from our readers, asking where is our publication.
When I received that letter, next day I hired the layer and we went to the court. Even in the agreement with “Press Express” there is a requirement to inform about the cancelation of agreement 30 days ahead. I demanded the compensation of 1000 euro from ‘Press Express” for every day they did not fulfill their obligations. That case is still in court. After receiving the lawsuit “Press Express” informed me about the cancelation of agreement and on the 7th of February they formally canceled our agreement. I demanded the compensation and declare, that “Press Express” abuses its monopolist situation, which will result 10 per cent of all company annual income in fines. That case is still in Vilnius district court.
Our agreement with “Press Express” is broken from 7th of February without any explanation. I tried to receive the motives from management of your company, they said nothing, kept in silence. That decision is big failure not just for us, but also for the “Reitangruppen”, since it will loose at least 50 thousand euros annually just because there is no our publication in the stories. Plus the company will have to pay fines and damage, made for us.
I am sure, that decision to throw our publication from the market by the management of your subsidiary is made only because the pressure of our corrupted government. Norway is very well know for its free press traditions – interesting, that they will say about the practice of your subsidiary in Lithuania?
This letter is to inform the management of Reitangruppen about the practices of its employees in Lithuania. My suggestion is to stop that practice, and reniew the agreement with us. Waiting for your decision.
The chief editor of weekly newspaper “Laisvas laikrastis”
Konstitucijos pr. 23b, Vilnius, Lithuania