13:59 Apr. 8, 2016
Russian channel contains war propaganda and incitement of hatred, Latvian officials say
Latvia has banned the retransmission and distribution of Russian broadcaster ‘Rossiya RTR' for six months. The decision was made by the National Electronic Mass Media Council on Thursday, April 7, according to the Latvian news outlet Delfi.
The decision will come into force once it is published in the newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis. The National Council said, in 2015 ‘Rossiya RTR' repeatedly violated the Law on Electronic Media as well as the E.U. regulation on audio-visual services.
'Rossiya RTR' programs are channelled to Latvia from Sweden, where RusMediaCom has a broadcasting permit. That is why the National Council reported on violations to the Swedish regulator of audiovisual media and ‘Rossiya RTR'.
On March 9, the National Council representatives held talks with 'Rossiya RTR' representatives, asking them to prevent a recurrence of such violations. However, 'Rossiya RTR' programs repeatedly incited hatred and called for military actions, the National Council reports.
The National Council believes these Russian channel's actions pose a threat to Latvian society and its security. "As an electronic media watchdog, our task is to respond to these violations and take measures to eliminate them," said Ayia Dulevska, the National Council chairman.
On April 7, the Russian Embassy commented on the ban of broadcasting Rossiya RTR in Latvia. "A series of steps by the Latvian authorities to oust the Russian media from the media space of the country, as well as hasty introduction of the so-called "anti-spy amendment" to the Criminal Code - are these new European values? We hope that relevant international organizations will not disregard these Latvian inventions", reports the Russian Embassy on Facebook.
In 2014, the broadcasting of 'Rossiya RTR' in Latvia was limited to three months due to violations of the law, since news and other programs contained war propaganda.