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Ethics dilemma: Latvian doughnuts or Belgian waffles with EUR 6,200 on top

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOpinion piece

The tempting eight seats in the European Parliament – competition for them in Latvia has gone so far that some candidates have begun jobs that are incompatible with one another. So to speak – they toss around promises of great accomplishments while their previously undertaken tasks remain unfinished. One example for this is Ansis Pūpols, who has made a reputation for himself in Latvia as ‘Nemelo!’ journalist. So what about Brussels is the most attractive – Belgian waffles every day, stable five year term with monthly income of EUR 8,757.70 before taxes or the fight for a better Europe?

It should be said that Ansis Pūpols became prominent as Nekā personīga journalist. He no longer works there any more, as he now focuses on his own journalistic project Nemelo. Not long ago Pūpols asked residents for money to finance his new project. As he put it – «donations for quality journalism». However, not even two months later the journalist announced his intention to candidate in European Parliament elections as a representative of National Alliance. Pūpols said this is a logical step.

Even now, as a candidate in the European Parliament elections, he still asks for donations. Perhaps he could call this a logical step as well, but not everyone would agree.

If anyone wants to know if this kind of practice is ethical, they don’t have to think hard – Latvian Journalists Association, where Pūpols remains a member, has the answer written in its Ethics Code:

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUHow can the fight for a better future begin if the political path is started with dirty steps?

Up until Wednesday, 13 March, neither Ainārs Dimants nor Ansis Pūpols – both being candidates for European Parliament elections – made sure they are no longer members of Latvian Journalists Association, which maintains independent journalism in Latvia.

BNN managed to contact LJA representative Kristīne, who answers e-mails sent to the association. According to her, neither Dimants nor Pūpols has asked to be removed from the list of the association’s members. Still, she said that such requests could have been sent to the chairperson directly. She mentioned in a telephone conversation with BNN that e-mails from LJA are no longer sent to either of the two aforementioned individuals.

A journalist can serve as a good politician, because after studying corruption scandals for a long time a person is able to notice flaws in politics and help prevent them in the future. However, it is not possible for them to combine posts. This means an honest and fair move would be leaving journalism and staying on one course – politics. Until this is done, one has to ask how Pūpols, who fights against corruption scandals, will resolve the shadow of doubt regarding National Alliance’s insolvency especially association with Raivis Dzintars, who is to become Pūpols comrade in the future?

At a seminar the National Alliance still referred to Pūpols as a journalist. The man himself did not hide his intentions to finish his ongoing journalistic projects. But won’t his projects cast shadows over the party?

It is also curious what the people who commented on political developments in Latvia will do after 25 May if they fail to enter the European Parliament? How objectively will look at them if they decide to stay in their posts? And for how long have they served interest of the party they are now part of?

Pūpols is not the only one who has breached ethic norms of their profession by becoming political candidate. Among them is also Ainārs Dimants, who is a well-known media expert in Latvia. Politologists Ivars Ijabs and Andris Kudors have also set their sights on Europe. If politologists fail to get their hands on «Belgian waffles», will they be content with «Latvian waffles»?


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