Parliament recommends huge cut for youth radio

The Latvian Saeima's Budget Commission on Monday, November 21 recommended slashing funding to public service youth radio station pieci.lv by €130,000 and giving the money to other stations.

A final decision on the move will be taken on Wednesday, November 23 during the final debate on next year's state budget.

Information that the budget cut was being prepared by the committee only leaked on Sunday, November 20, giving Latvian Radio (which is part of the same public broadcasting organization as LSM) very little chance to make its case.

Latvian Radio spokeswoman Ilze Zvaigzne told LSM that €130,000 represents around one quarter of the station's entire total budget and the loss of such a large amount would likely relegate it to an internet-only format.

Pieci.lv's editor in chief Anna Platpire strenuously denied accusations by Saeima deputy Imants Paradnieks that the station was living "high on the hog" and used its resources inefficiently, describing the accusation as "irresponsible" and suggesting the redistribution of the 130,000 to commercial radio station could end up subsidizing stations playing Russian pop hits.

Pieci.lv began broadcasting full time in 2014. It has since won several awards and its annual 'Dod Pieci' charity fundraising initiative has become a popular event.

Coincidentally, last year it raised just over the same amount for families with disabled children as the amount proposed by lawmakers for redistribution to commercial radio stations: €135,000.

This year's Dod Pieci fundraiser will take place December 15 to 21 in order to help cancer patients.

 

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