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Wednesday 18.07.2018 | Name days: Rozālija, Roze

PBK: closing of Russian television channels in Latvia would be an act of censure

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIf the First Baltic Channel does not stop showing propaganda news reports and programmes, the channel will be closed, as reported by Chairman of Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council Ainārs Dimants. Meanwhile, the management of PBK calls such measures censure and notes – it is much more important to create alternative programmes for Russian-speaking audience.

News service of the Latvian First Baltic Channel has told Latvian Television – whether or not the contract allows the airing of contents shown by the Russian channel can only be said by the management of the channel, which is currently outside of Latvia. The local news service’s shown contents are objective.

‘We keep in contact with residents living in Latvia. We talk to residents living in Kyiv and Crimea. We talk with local Ukrainian residents, our politicians, economists and politologists,’ – explains producer and journalist of PBK Natalia Vasilyeva. She is certain – the audience is capable of accurately assessing the information provided to them. ‘Closure of Russian channels would be censure. Period. I have nothing else to add.’

Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council sees violations in the news contents of PBK. This specifically applies to the coverage of events that currently transpire in Ukraine.

It will be more complicated to limit access to Russian channels registered in Sweden and the UK. The Council hopes that the two countries would be able to limit registration of channels following a request to evaluate their provided contents, because it would be very complicated to limit them in Latvia otherwise. And this option is not entirely realistic as well.

Lattelecom, however, does not plan to remove the channels from the basic package. The company does promise to add other channels; ones that would provide an alternative perspective.

The offer of cable-operators in Russian regions is very limited. On top of that, the language barrier does not allow residents to watch channels like CNN and BBC. The fact that residents living in Russia receive one-sided news is confirmed by journalist Pavel Shirov: ‘If you take in everything you see and hear, you get the general idea that the people in power there [Ukraine] are nothing short of “Bandera followers” – no one knows who they are but they’ve managed to grab power in Ukraine. Riots in Crimea are either aimed at Russians living there or all residents living there. It is unclear, however, who exactly organizes these clashes. There is no reason for me to believe that the entirety of Ukraine’s east wants to be part of Russia. But this is the general impression I get after watching Russian TV channels.’

Juris Jansons has told Diena newspaper that all people have the right to have access to precise and unaltered information. He believes the matter regarding the possible closure of Russian television channels in Latvia is a complicated one.

‘Politicians and carriers of state power need to be very wise and professional. On the one hand, we are talking about a person’s right of freedom. On the other hand, if this is a weapon used by a foreign country to influence the minds of residents and exact ideological pressure on specific parts of society, then this matter should be taken very seriously,’ – says Jansons.

Head of Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee Ināra Mūrniece has said that the Culture Ministry should immediately form a Media Department and start work on revision of the Electronic Mass Media Law in order to find any missed opportunities to protect Latvia’s information space.


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  1. Oddis says:

    So there is no “brainwashing” by western media? To protect Latvia’s information space, haha, this must be a joke. Those latvian nationalists will start censoring?

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