Latvia's broadcast regulator bans Russian channel for a year

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Latvia's broadcast regulator, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has announced that it is banning the retransmission and distribution of the Russian “Rossija RTR” channel in the territory of Latvia for a full year. 

The decision was made because four significant violations of the law were identified, related to incitement to hatred, incitement to violence and provocation of military conflict, the NEPLP said in a statement.

The ban on retransmission of Rossija RTR in the territory of Latvia will come into force on February 15 this year, giving cable operators a week to withdraw the channel from their broadcast packages. 

It is far from the first time such a ban has been imposed on Rossija RTR. As LSM previously reported, the NEPLP suspended it in 2014 for three months, then again banned the retransmission of Rossija RTR in 2016 for six months and in 2019 it was slapped with another three month ban

"Channels that incite hatred and call for war have no place in the territory of Latvia. Rossija RTR, which is considered to be the main Kremlin's propaganda TV channel, has violated all borders and we have defended, continue to defend and will defend our information space in the future as well," said Ivars Āboliņš, Chairman of the NEPLP, about the latest sanction.

Despite being one of Russia's major broadcasters, Rossija RTR is technically registered in Sweden, and the NEPLP decision was taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in the European Union's Audiovisual Media Services Directive, informing Rossija RTR, the European Commission and the Swedish media regulator. 

Details of the infringements listed by the NEPLP concern TV shows on various Russian foreign policy and historical topics that are interpreted as threatening, insulting and wilfully misleading towards Ukraine, the Belarusian opposition, the Baltic States, Poland and others.

They generally involve inflated rhetoric about Russian military power, historical revisionism about the Soviet Union and populist threats against individuals, groups and entire countries, with invasion, bombing and hanging popular themes for speculation by discussants on Rossija RTR's shows.

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