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Tuesday 12.11.2019 | Name days: Kaija, Kornēlija
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Latvian prime minister expects resolution for Latvijas Radio situation

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Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis should offer a solution for the funding problem currently present at Latvijas Radio, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

When asked about a solution for the Latvijas Radio financing problems, Kariņš notes the culture minister is responsible for this field and that half of the aforementioned problems have already been discussed. Nevertheless, the prime minister wants the minister to survey the situation and offer the government a solution.

According to Kariņš, the matter regarding possible increase of funding for Latvijas Radio could be discussed in 2020 as part of budget talks. However, it is not excluded the government may tackle the topic this autumn.

«If the culture minister offers a solution, he will be able to come to the government and propose increasing funding. But I cannot tell from the side what is causing a crisis. The culture minister should answer for supervision over Latvijas Radio’s decision-making process in regards to its budget. If there is a shortage of funds in the company it cannot go hand in hand with catastrophic management,» said the prime minister.

As previously reported, the board of Latvijas Radio has asked officials to allocate EUR 100 000 from the state budget this year and EUR 996 760 next year for employee wages, as mentioned in the open letter from Latvijas Radio board.

The letter states that public media financing in Latvia is the lowest among European Union member states, as well as 30% lower than the financing in Lithuania and nearly 45% below that of Estonia. While on average the funding of public media in Europe is equal to 0.17% of GDP, whereas in Latvia it is 0.1%, the letter mentions. ‘The government has long since promised to increase financing – last year the index should have reached 0.15% of GDP. Next year the index is expected to reach 0.2% of GDP. Unfortunately, what we see now is that this commitment remains only on paper,’ the letter mentions.

Considering that in three years’ time Latvijas Radio has lost one-third of its employees, including 56 journalists, as well as the fact that 11 journalists and producers have left its News Service to get better paid jobs in commercial media and LTV. This is why the remaining employees are forced to work more to cover all topics, pushing them closer to burnout, the letter stresses.


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