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Journalists Kalderauska and Eglītis approved as members of National Electronic Mass Media Council

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NEPLP, Saeima, candidates, approval, council, Ieva Kalderauska, Jānis Eglītis   On Thursday, 13 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved journalists Ieva Kalderauska and Jānis Eglītis as new members of the National Electronic Mass Media Council.

Kalderauska received support from 73 Saeima deputies, and Eglītis received support from 70 parliamentarians.

In the past Eglītis was a journalist for TV3 news. He was also in charge of E Komunikācijas company. Kalderauskas, on the other hand, was a journalist for LNT. After this television channel’s reorganization she continued her work at TV3.

Saeima deputy Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis reminded other deputies of the statements previously made by New Conservative Party’s Saeima faction leader Juta Strīķe on officials in Latvia not being allowed to be approved with opposition votes.

«NEPLP candidates, existing and potential officials – think about consequences! Strīķe made you workers of her political office. This makes you politically influenced. It is entirely possible she sees you as people loyal to the coalition, her party and her personally. This loyalty will be demanded of you,» warned Dombrovskis.

According to Dombrovskis, the goal of the coalition and Strīķe is securing a public media that will stay quiet about the ruling coalition’s failings. This is why Harmony, according to Dombrovskis, will vote against both candidates.

Saeima Media Policy Sub-committee head Vita Anda Tērauda invited supporting both candidates. Tērauda reminds NEPLP has many challenges that require professionalism and political neutrality from its members. «When approving the Public Media Law the Saeima will have to manage the process of change for NEPLP, which will not be easy. I wish for the new council members to contribute to make the process successful,» said the deputy.

She also said the new NEPLP members are expected to provide a professional vision for the media sector and resolve sustainability and longevity problems. Tērauda hopes the range of quality information does not reduce and that Latvia’s information environment will be enhanced without impacting media independence and freedom of speech.

Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee’s head Artuss Kaimiņš criticized Dombrovskis, stressing that Harmony’s faction was likely not interested in the NEPLP members selection process. He also reminded that the party’s deputyes had previously supported Kalderauska as a candidate.

Kaimiņš stressed that selection of candidates for NEPLP was «was transparent and completely non-politicized».

Kaimiņš added that NEPLP should not include political party members even though the law permits it. «Neither of these two candidates are members in any party,» he said.

Deputy Dagmāra Beitnere-Le Galla climbed the tribune and said she now has to testify about the new order and culture with selection of officials. «It was very important for us to select new and professional people to NEPLP. We have selected the best possible candidates,» admitted the politician.

Deputy Māris Kučinskis said «NEPLP selection process was not exactly spotless and apolitical». At the same time, he praised Kaimiņš for heading the process. The politician admitted that ex-parliamentarian Kārlis Seržants was one of the best candidates, but he was not proposed because he is a member of the Union of Greens and Farmers. Kučinskis said, turning to Eglītis, that ZZS support for him will be secured in advance.

Parliamentarian Aldis Gobzems said he would not vote for Kalderauska because she did not come to convince all deputies about her professional competence. Eglītis, according to Gobzems, is a fervent supporter of Unity.

Human Rights Committee member Dace Rukšāne-Ščipčinska reminded that from the very beginning of the current Saeima there have been problems associated with NEPLP. She wished both NEPLP candidates resilience, stressing there will be many challenges. She said the hopes NEPLP members will work to protect democracy.

Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee found Kalderauska and Egītis appropriate for their respective posts.


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