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Re:Baltica reports on how Baltic states handle disinformation spreaders

The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Re:Baltica, has a new report out analyzing the contrasting attitudes of the three Baltic states when it comes to the problem of fake news and disinformation.

"Latvia is the first of the Baltic States that has convicted a person who spreads fake news – he has been found guilty of hooliganism and incitement to hatred on social media. Meanwhile, Estonia and Lithuania are relying on educating society rather than handing out criminal penalties," the report begins, before embarking upon a more detailed examination of who spreads lies online and why.

Latvia has been more active than its neighbors in taking legal action against online attention-seekers, overcoming any qualms about freedom of speech issues when it comes to false reports about supermarket collapses or medical staff harming patients.   

Similarly, when it comes to enforcing Covid-19 restrictions, Latvia has favored a tougher line.

Covid-19 related penalties in Baltic states

"Since the beginning of this year, 50 cases involving violations of the Covid-19 restrictions have been initiated in Estonia. According to Estonia’s Health Board, fines have been issued in 24 of those cases. In Latvia, more than 26,000 administrative proceedings have been launched in the first four months of this year," Re:Baltica writes. In Lithuania the figure is 17,870.

The report is available to read in both Latvian and English.

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