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Law on Press will not apply to municipal newsletters

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Thursday, 16 June, the Saeima supported amendments to the Law on the Press and Other Mass Media. Supported amendments clarify that the goal of the law is protecting right of freedom of speech as detailed in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia, BNN was informed by the Saeima press-service.

«The responsible committee held expansive discussions about how the law addresses municipal newsletters that compete with independent regional media and distort the media market. The committee decided not to include detailed regulations on municipal newsletters in the law, saying that specific rules and requirements have to be approved in the Law on Municipalities,» said chairperson of Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee Inese Laizane.

She emphasized that legislation that divides municipal expenses from mass media and defines their functions is important to strengthen independent press. Laizane expressed readiness on behalf of the committee to cooperate with Public Administration and Local Government Committee, which works on the approval of regulations in the Law on Municipalities.

During the review of amendments, deputies decided to clarify that those requirements to not apply to municipal newsletters. Until now it has been established that requirements would not apply to state and administration institutions’ instructions, regulations, and periodic statements from court and arbitration practice, as well as materials released by education and scientific institutions.

Because Latvia has no official information agency, deputies decided to exclude from the law the norm that mass media organizations are not to be held responsible for reporting false news if reports contain information taken from official information agencies.

Ref: 224.109.109.6022


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