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EBU ģenerāldirektora vietnieks: Satura nodošana par labu nenāks

EBU has reservations about public media content sharing idea

Last week, the Saeima decided in the first reading that Latvian public media – Latvian Television and Latvian Radio, as well as LSM – would have to share their content with commercial media in order to 'strengthen the security of the information space'.

The decision provoked counterarguments from public media representatives, and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) also provided a comment in an interview with LTV on June 15.

Based on the need to strengthen the security of Latvia's information room, politicians have decided that the best way to reach the Russian-speaking audience in Latvia is by transferring the content of LTV and Latvian Radio to commercial media. This has been done without extensive discussions with experts, virtually behind closed doors, as reported by LTV's De Facto. The Saeima also agreed on this conceptually and still has to view the amendments in the second reading.

The Public Electronic Media Council (SEPLP) does not support the transfer of content to commercial media in the long term and for an unlimited period of time. SEPLP leader Jānis Siksnis, like LTV and Latvian Radio management, expressed concern that this could reduce the public media audience. 

On Wednesday, June 15, in an interview with Latvian Television, the European Broadcasting Union's (EBU) Deputy Director General Jean Philip De Tender said that these discussions are unprecedented. 

"Latvian politicians asked us to reveal how public media content is shared elsewhere in Europe. To be honest, the question confused me, because such practices do not exist anywhere else in Europe. If it is implemented, it will certainly weaken Latvian Television," said De Tender.

He said that it would benefit the media space if LTV continued doing what it is doing but those commercial media that have a duty to produce news could do it themselves. 

Like in the rest of Europe, Latvian public media should seek broader audiences in the digital environment, but not by giving out content to other media, said the EBU representative. 

"Because the real challenge for public media is how to compete with the tech giants. How to compete with Netflix, Facebook? How to reach the younger audience in new ways? This should be discussed, not rush to conclusions about sharing content," said De Tender.

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