Investigative Story on Animal Abuse Helps Sustain a Media Outlet

When Laisvės TV in Lithuania started broadcasting a series about the abuse of animals, they garnered sponsorship from a major pet food producer

In Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Internews supports the production in local media of in-depth features on socially important issues. Laisvės TV, a grantee of the Good Story Fund, began investigating the issue of illegal breeding and animal smuggling and how animals are being abused by breeders. For example, sometimes very young puppies are sedated and smuggled from Lithuania to other EU countries using falsified documents.

The Ministry of Animals,” was cross-promoted on other networks, including being aired on the popular regional Lithuanian station Balticum TV. Major commercial station Lietuvos Rytas TV and cable network Init TV will broadcast the series after its run on Laisvės TV.

The series leads to a major sponsorship

Commercial media outlets in Lithuania are struggling due to the COVID pandemic and due to competition from the public broadcasters who have generous budgets from state funding. There are concerns that “…traditional broadcast news and digital-first sites to nonprofit longform storytelling and YouTube news channels will wither away.”

So, Laisvės TV was elated when “The Ministry of Animals” led to sponsorship from a major pet food producer, Mars Lietuva. This support is a rare example of external corporate funding, and a significant boon to the media outlet’s sustainability.