Media watchdog: Russian output dominates Latvia's information space

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Latvia lives in an informational space dominated by the Russian language, the Chairman of the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) Ivars Āboliņš said in an interview with Latvian Radio on January 4.

Āboliņš describing the available media in the Latvian mediasphere, said Russian-language media were still dominant, even after 121 Russian media channels were banned after the Russian war in Ukraine was launched.

“A year ago, this Russian domination was even greater,” added Āboliņš.

NEPLP has developed a national strategy for the development of the electronic media industry until 2027. The strategic priorities identified therein are to protect Latvia's informative space by strengthening local content in the official language. The new government has also pledged not to support additional Russian content.

Āboliņš said that the proportion of Russian in Latvia's media space is huge:

"In Latvia there are 252 retransmitted media, of which 127 are also available in Russian, and 42 in Latvian. [..] We see no reason to continue the absolute dominance of Russian."

“At the moment, what we can do in the short term is to get the contents of the Latvian language not dominant, but to 'pull' this content up to the extent of the Russian content. [..] If we want to compete with foreign content, local content must be created. The only way is to raise money for local content,” Āboliņš said.

Over the past year, a series of Russian TV channels and websites which distribute propaganda or support the hostilities in Ukraine have been banned from the Latvian airwaves and websites available, including the controversial recent case of independent Russian media TV Dozdhj (TV Rain).

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