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Sunday 17.12.2017 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
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Saeima committee supports limitation of newsletter publications for municipalities

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Tuesday, 24 January, Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee supported amendments to the law to limit the freedom of municipal and state institutions to issue newsletters as mass media, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

«Many municipalities issue newsletters that compete with independent media. Newsletters issued by municipal institutions distort the media market, causing considerable damages to regional press. It is important to ensure we have strong and independent media that provide society with comprehensive and objective information. With that, it is no less important to divide newsletters issued by municipalities from mass media,» – says Inese Laizane, head of the committee.

It is mentioned in amendments supported by the committee to the Law on Press and Other Media that state and municipal institutions are not to found and release periodical publications and internet websites as mass media outlets. There are other regulations in place to ensure society is kept informed of any developments.

Latvian Union of Local Governments opposed amendments, emphasizing that they would limit their opportunities to directly inform the public.

Authors of the proposal say amendments do not limit the rights to inform the public, but rather offer a clear separation between outlets financed by the municipality and other press. Latvian Association of Press Publishers and Latvian Association of Journalists supported proposed restrictions.

Saeima’s press-service reports that if changes come into force, state and municipal institutions will have to ensure by 1 January 2018 that their function complies with new regulations. On top of that, they will have to submit an application to the Enterprises Registry regarding the exclusion of their registered mass information media or perform other changes.

Amendments are to be viewed by the Saeima in two more readings.

Ref: 224.109.109.6906


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