Corruption as Presented in the Lithuanian Internet Media

Author:Aleksandras Dobryninas, Mindaugas Gilaitis

The article focuses on content analysis of corruption-related publications released by Lithuanian Internet media. The authors present findings from structural and semantic analysis of the online publications on corruption issues that appeared during 2015 via two influential Internet portals: and These findings are interpreted in the context of official statistical data... (see full summary)

Aleksandras Dobryninas Mindaugas Gilaitis
Centre for Criminology Studies Centre for Criminology Studies
Vilnius University Vilnius University
Corruption as Presented
in the Lithuanian
Internet Media*1
1. Introduction
In the modern information age, citizens’ perceptions and evaluation of corruption, as well as of many other
social problems, are based not only on personal experience but also on the subject’s presentation in the
mass media. Media have become a natural actor taking part in constructing the public discourse on cor-
ruption, shaping attitudes towards corrupt persons, and illuminating and promoting possible measures for
tackling and preventing the spread of corruption through society. Although Lithuania belongs to the group
of countries in which the level of perceived corruption is assessed as rather positive*2, themes related to
corruption are very popular in the Lithuanian mass media. Early on, the rst diagnostic survey in the ‘Map
of Corruption in Lithuania’ series, conducted regularly since 2001, demonstrated that more than half of the
Lithuanian population considered the media to be the source of information that allows forming ‘the most
reliable opinion about the scale of corruption in Lithuania’. Television was cited as the most reliable source
among media-centred means.*3
However, the situation has changed radically since then. While in 2001–2003 the second and third
most reliable sources of information were considered to be ‘personal experience’ and reports from ‘friends,
acquaintances’, the second-place spot behind television in 2016 was occupied by the Internet, which had
been statistically ‘invisible’ in previous years. Personal experience or the experiences of relatives and peers
today is considered to be less important than, and not as reliable as, the information obtained via other
means, stemming from media sources*4. These changes provide empirical support to the idea that the
majority of Lithuanian society follows the general trends of the information society.
The ‘informational’ character of Lithuanian society can be illustrated well by the results of the Annual
Review of Media Surveys. According to the 2015 survey in this series, in the period 2014–2015, the overall
percentage of citizens of Lithuania using the Internet underwent no changes, remaining at 75%. Meanwhile,
The article has been prepared within the framework of a project titled ‘Social Context of Corruption: An Analysis of Macro,
Meso and Micro Level Factors’, which is funded by the Research Council of Lithuania (MIP-/).
For example, the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for Lithuania over the last few years has
been around  on a scale of (‘highly corrupt’) to  (‘very clean’); see Transparency International. Corruption Percep-
tions Index. Available at (most recently accessed on ..).
Lithuanian Map of Corruption . Vilnius: Eugrimas , pp. , .
Lietuvos korupcijos žemėlapis  [‘Lithuanian Map of Corruption ’]. Available at
soc_tyrimai/_Korupcijos_zemelapis_ataskaita.ppt (most recently accessed on ..) (in Lithuanian).

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