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Saturday 25.05.2019 | Name days: Junora, Anšlavs
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Ventspils City Council stumbles and indirectly admits – Lembergs does breach his security measure

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Suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs

The suspended chairman of Ventspils City Council Aivars Lembergs breaches the court-sanctioned security measure – prohibition to perform duties as mayor – because he regularly represents the city council and provides his opinion to Ventspils City Council’s portal ventspils.lv, BNN has concluded after reviewing the ruling of Liepaja District Court.

This much is referenced by Liepaja District Court and by Ventspils City Council, though in an ironic sense, according to information compiled in the ruling. Ventspils City Council notes that one of the main duties of the mayor is representing the city council and answering for its work.

This means that by regularly publishing his opinion on the municipality’s portal, the suspended Lembergs basically breaches the court’s sanctioned security measure against him.

On 11 August 2017, Ventspils City Council opposition deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis turned to court with a request to provide him with fair access to Ventspils municipality’s portal ventspils.lv so that he would be able to defend his opinion after Lembergs, according to Kristovskis, published lies about him on the municipal portal. The ruling of Liepaja Administrative District Court stresses that the offensive statements Lembergs has made against Kristovskis contain no proof.

«The Administrative District Court explained in its 13 May 2019 ruling what is clear and self-explanatory to every honest person living in a country ruled by law. The court stated that the official information portal of Ventspils City Council is not and cannot be used as a website the illegitimate Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs’ uses to escalate his defamatory campaign against me, minority deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis and other differently-minded people,» comments Kristovskis.

Although the court concluded that a city council deputy’s rights do not guarantee rights to publish opinions on the official portal, it is outlined that if the municipality’s chairman is allowed to publish opinions, the same rights should be provided to other deputies. As a result, the municipality needs to decide how to implement these rights – either permit all to publish opinions there, or no one.

The court also notes that the municipality portal’s section City Council Chairman contains video footage in which Lembergs «arbitrarily answers different questions, reports on developments in Ventspils, and comments on different topics not necessarily associated with the city council». The head of the city council is supposed to provide politically neutral information on official portals. It has been concluded that even though Lembergs does offer neutral information as well, videos with him also contain a lot of his subjective opinion.

Liepaja District Court also concluded that Lembergs’ opinion is not politically neutral.

Moreover – because the municipality’s portal publishes not only neutral information about its work but opinions of deputies and the city council chairman, the work of the official portal can be equated to that of the municipality’s mass media. This is why it is important to ensure a variety of opinions on ventspils.lv, which is not present there at the moment.

«Nowadays deputies have a variety of ways to communicate with voters. This is why the need to continue publishing Lembergs’ opinions on the municipality’s official portal ventspils.lv is confusing,» the ruling mentions.


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