During the period of October 1 and November 21 five Lithuanian mainstream news websites 15min.lt, Delfi.lt, Lrytas.lt, Delfi.ru, Alfa.lt, and the fringe news website ekspertai.eu were monitored. In total news websites published 6664 articles, which generated 26 977 [1]comments.

 

Quantitative data of monitoring; period October 1 – November 21

Website Number of Articles Number of Comments No of Ips
15min.lt 2083 3924 2063
Delfi.lt 1635 0 0
Lrytas.lt 1449 18284 1
Ru. Delfi 743 0 0
Alfa.lt 582 0 0
Ekspertai.eu 172 2764 822
Total 6664 24977

 

Delfi.lt is the largest news website in Lithuania by the number of real users and the time spent on the website as well as generating the comments. See table below. However, due to the changed structure of Delfi.lt and Alfa.lt websites we are not able to crawl the comments of these websites at the moment.

 

Share of time spent on Lithuanian news portals by real users (%)
Delfi.lt 29.46
15min 14.3
Lrytas 13.27
lrt.lt 4.24
TV3 7.58

Delfi.lt 19.11.2019

 

The statistics of articles, comments and IPs remain unchanged ( as in September): articles published in/by Delfi.lt received the most of comments while 15min.lt published a larger number of articles. It should be noted, that 15min.lt is considered among the Lithuanian public as the website with a greater portion of quality media and a lesser amount of commercial media than other media outlets in question. In addition, 15min.lt has a strong investigative journalism section. The website is more appreciated by an intellectual reader.  The website receives six times fewer comments than Lrytas.lt or Delfi.lt. This is due to the website’s policy of commentators’ registration.  The policy ensures the quality of comments but also withholds many people from commentating because many do not like to reveal their identity.

Lrytas.lt website is the second in generating comments, although according to the number of articles, it is in the third position.

During the monitoring period the most commented articles were about the domestic issues. Comments raise and discuss topics and themes in such a way that form the contextual narrative of a domestic failure: the Government’s negligence, poor governance, abuse of the position, nepotism, corruption, absence of justice and fair trial,  mismanagement and conscious indifference to the interests and needs of the ordinary citizens as well as their exposure to sufferings.

 

The most commented topics and themes were following:

1. The case of Ms Neringa Venckienė, a former member of the Lithuanian Parliament and judge who was recently (06.11.2019) extradited from the United States. The Venskienė case is directly related to the so – called “Drąsius Kedys”/ “Drąsos Kelias“ case (events took place in 2009, alleged accusations of pedophilia, killings) which was/is highly resonant. During the monitoring period the news websites would report 2 – 3 times a day about the current status of the Ms Venskiene case as well as the case history and its broader contexts; articles would generate hundreds, sometimes over a thousand comments and shares.

Venckienė fled Lithuania in 2013 after the parliament stripped her of legal immunity. The current  charges against her are refusing to obey a court order, resisting a police officer, hindering a bailiff, and hitting Ms Stankūnaitė, the mother of her niece. The Lithuanian Prosecutor office initially charged Ms Venskiene with 13 offences, however the US court granted extradition under four charges. Venckienė says the accusations are politically motivated.

The case of Venskiene and her brother Drasius Kedys that started in 2009 is multifaceted. The comments discuss following topics and themes: rule of law, justice and fair trial, efficiency of law enforcement officers, transparency, sexual abuse of children, role of politicians and that some politicians build their political carriers on such cases; also the role of the Honorary Chairman of the Homeland Party Vytautas Landsbergis as well as the former President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite in the case are discussed and criticized.

The topics and themes raised by commenters on the news website coincide with the topics and themes in the FB social groups – closed and open social groups in support to Neringa Venskiene.  Comments in social media are more open and direct. Both comments – on the news websites and in social media  position Ms Venskiene as a victim and voice concerns for her safety and security; also, they  raise conspiracy theories of about the causes of death of people (including Kedys himself) involved the “Drąsius Kedys” case.

Having in mind that in 2020 there is the parliamentary elections in Lithuania, the Venskiene’s case (which is minor from the legal point of view) will continue to generate the public interest and will be used or even abused to stir conspiracy, distrust among the Lithuanian society.

 

2. Another topic that received major attention among commentators is the suicide of the young doctor of the Vilnius University Hospital, one the leading hospitals of Lithuania. The tragic event triggered major public discussion among society and among the medicine community about the toxic professional (doctor to doctor) relationship, the position and attitude towards young medicine doctors, ill traditions of bulling in the health care sector as well as public respect and publics ethics. Many comments are directed personally to the head of the department where the young doctor worked. Comments raise topics of cruelty, indifference and bullying practice cultivated and tolerated in the health care sector; also, the nepotism, protectionism and corruption among medicine doctors are discussed. These comments build the contextual narrative about the weak state, ineffective governance of the Lithuanian heath care, lack of transparence and accountability.

 

3. The management of the large-scale fire in Alytus at Ekologistika’s tire storage facility (covering an area of 2,000 square meters) showed a lack of systemic preparation and smooth inter-institutional cooperation once the fire broke out, putting down the fire, managing the emerged danger to people’s health and afterwards taking care of firefighters (their safety and health, payment for extra hours 24/7, etc.). All these issues were raised, discussed by commentators. The fire broke out on October 16 and it took 10 days to extinguish. All these aspects were raised by commentators. Comments are full of sarcasm about the state and local institutions’ ability and capability to govern. The contextual narrative of a failing state and of a domestic failure is constructed.

 

4. Pulp fiction. Stories about Lithuanian influencers and celebrities, other local or national public figures: their holidays, divorces, newborns, wealth, basketball players and their wives, new houses, etc. The contextual narrative is about the success and happiness – being successful means being wealthy, having lot of money and consuming a lot (luxury hotels, dresses, beauty/plastic surgery, etc.)

 

5. The information that the President of Lithuania and his wife on their way back from Japan visited their student daughter in South Korea at their own expenses caused a wave of comments questioning who paid for travel costs of their bodyguards and their other staff members. In the context of social equality and social exclusion (which is perceived as a major threat to the country’s safety and security) and combined with commercial media’s empathies on consumerism, the comments about this information strongly echoed the absence of trust in the state institutions and fair management of finances.

The drafting of the national budget for the next year did not receive much attention by commentators. The debate on the decrease of the threshold (from 5% to 3%) for the political parties to be elected to the Parliament next year did not attract much of commentators’ attention.

It is worth noting that two topics that generated a sufficient amount of comments in September now lost some interest among commentators. Namely, two topics: i) the issue of the Seimas Speaker Pranskietis’ refusal to resign after his withdrawing his membership from the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens party, the majority holding parliamentary party; ii)  the issue of  Russia’s influence on Lithuanian politicians:  Lithuanian MP Irina Rozova and MEP Valdemar Tomaševski, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance (LLRA-KŠS), testified on 20 November before the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence.  The parliamentary investigation was launched after it came to light that the State Security Department had recommended in a report to Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, that MP Rozova be denied access to classified information. Rozova and Russian diplomats discussed financial support for her party, the Russian Alliance

It should be noted that foreign policy issues received little attention and the first foreign policy news – death of one of the IS leaders A.B. al- Baghdadi, that generated comments, is only in the 60th place.

 

Top 30 most commented articles in October and November 2019

Note. Titles of articles are quoted in Lithuanian

Article News website Number of comments
Prof. N. Porvaneckas atvirai – apie paskutinius pokalbius su nusižudžiusiu mediku ir savijautą po skandalo lrytas 403
Neringa Venckienė paleidžiama į laisvę: privalės nešioti apykoję, gyvens tėvų namuose lrytas 361
Apolonu tituluojamo L. Pernavo aplinkos ryšiai veda iki teisiamų asmenų lrytas 359
Daina Bilevičiūtė su dukra laiką leidžia Meksikoje: neatsigina vietinių dėmesio lrytas 322
D. Grybauskaitė: mokesčių didinimas – klaida, primena bolševizmo laikus lrytas 312
N. Venckienės skandalo sūkuryje atkreipė dėmesį į tai, ko nepastebime lrytas 259
G. Nausėda išsikvietė valdžios atstovus: aiškinasi, kodėl per gaisrą Alytuje kilo tokia painiava lrytas 208
Šalmą užsidėjęs prezidentas Gitanas Nausėda žengė į gaisravietę Alytuje lrytas 192
Vaidas Baumila apie seksualinę orientaciją: „Aš vis dar savęs ieškau“ lrytas 190
Po vizito Japonijoje prezidentas G. Nausėda aplankė Pietų Korėjoje studijuojančią dukrą lrytas 181
Vairuotojams – nauja staigmena: gali tekti dar labiau patuštinti kišenę lrytas 172
Korupcijos skandalas toliau krečia Kauno policiją, nušalinamas miesto policijos vadovas lrytas 169
Jonas Valančiūnas su žmona įsigijo naują namą JAV – kaina įspūdinga lrytas 164
N. Puteikio į partiją pakviesta E. Kručinskienė dėl Seimo apsisprendė būdama areštinėje lrytas 164
Daug žmonių tualetinį popierių naudoja neteisingai: gresia liūdnos pasekmės lrytas 162
Paskelbė N. Venckienės pargabenimo į Lietuvą kainą: kas sumokės, neaišku lrytas 162
N. Venckienės byloje teisėjai nesutiko nusišalinti: sprendimo dėl laisvės teks palaukti lrytas 161
Po LRT.lt laidos apie du tėčius – pasipiktinimo banga lrytas 157
Teisininkas apie N. Venckienės bylą: suimti nemato prasmės, įtarimus kelia slėpynių žaidimas lrytas 157
Mirė „Mafijos tėvu“ vadinamas Vidas Antonovas lrytas 156
Prieš galimą N. Venckienės suėmimą – viešumo baimė: Kauno teismo kiemas užtvertas lrytas 154
Vežėjams jau nejuokinga: „Mes ne prekybos centrai – galime perkelti verslą svetur“ lrytas 144
Scena prisigrūdusiame autobuse vilnietę privertė pasišlykštėti lrytas 143
Lietuvių kovos dėl vaikų užsienyje: reti pasimatymai, viltis ir pažintis su gėjų pora lrytas 141
N. Venckienės sūnus pasisakė apie mamos sveikatą lrytas 139
Strasbūro teismas paskelbė, kad Lietuva nepažeidė L. Stankūnaitės teisių lrytas 137
Nubausta laida „Farai“, teks sumokėti 4 tūkst. eurų lrytas 136
Po „X faktorius“ kovos žiūrovei šokas: „Manėm, gal pajuokavo“ lrytas 130
Irma Jurgelevičiūtė prabilo apie onkologinę ligą – tai sužinojo netikėtu būdu lrytas 127
D. Bugavičiaus nužudymo byloje V. Jakutienė pabūgo viešumo ir reikalauja beveik 2 mln. eurų lrytas 126
47-erių atlikėjui R. Martinui su vyrui J. Yosefui gimė ketvirtasis vaikas: parodė naujagimį lrytas 101

 

The monitoring of the most reacted (positive/negative) comments

The monitoring of the most reacted (positive/negative) comments showed following tendency: the positive reaction to the comments prevailed meaning that the critical or negative (grounded or not) comments were supported widely.

More information upon the request

 

The most active commentators

The tendency remains the same as before: the most active commentators (IPs) in October and November are related to the fringe website ekspertai.eu. The most of comments were generated in Lithuania: Vilnius, Kaunas and Šiauliai, Šakiai, Gargždai, Klaipėda; one IP address is registered in Moscow, Russia and few IPs are in Chicago (US), UK and Ireland.

See table below. The full list of IPs can be provided upon the request.

 

IPs #comments # websites city country website
78.58.185.179 132 1 Kaunas LT ekspertai
84.55.53.8 95 1 Vilnius LT 15min
89.116.124.39 91 1 Vilnius LT ekspertai
46.249.171.56 79 2 Šiauliai LT ekspertai,15min
92.243.166.42 77 1 Moscow RU ekspertai
78.58.24.230 68 1 Šakiai LT ekspertai
88.119.234.132 53 1 Gargždai LT ekspertai
90.131.47.219 46 1 Vilnius LT 15min
78.58.225.231 43 1 Vilnius LT ekspertai
88.118.163.49 40 1 Klaipėda LT ekspertai
178.16.34.170 39 1 Kaunas LT ekspertai
98.213.209.6 38 1 Chicago U.S. ekspertai
188.69.196.139 35 2 LT 15min,ekspertai
78.62.55.176 32 1 Prienai LT ekspertai
188.69.210.204 30 2 Vilnius LT 15min,ekspertai
85.255.48.4 30 1 Kaunas LT ekspertai
78.57.130.78 29 1 Kaunas LT ekspertai
78.58.233.247 29 1 Vilnius LT 15min
5.20.134.123 28 1 Vilnius LT 15min

Most active IPs during October – November 2019

 

Miscellaneous

There are 1217 753 real users of internet in Lithuania and their number grows. Delfi.lt is an absolute leader among news portals, with growing number of real users (625 772 users) and the increase in page views and visits. The second is the news website is 15min.lt (451 060 real users), followed by Lrytas.lt  news website (362 767real users).  The number of real users, page views and visits of those three news websites fluctuates – sometimes increases, sometimes drops. Currently, we do not have sufficient data to  determine whether the growth of visits to the news websites is due to the news coverage or due to commercial media and marketing campaigns.

 

 

Node Time share-Internet Real users Page views Visits
Internet 100.00% 1 217 753 51 710 893 5 801 719
Delfi 28.05% 625 772 12 497 837 1 278 012
Lrytas 14.76% 362 767 7 286 604 738 196
15min 14.37% 451 060 7 547 839 808 677

Source: Lithuania, Gemius S.A.: gemius Audience, 2019-11-22

 

[1] Number of comments changes (grows) as articles are online