Watchdog confirms bans on 20 Russian TV channels in Latvia

The National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has published a justification of its recent decisions to exclude about 20 Russian channels from the list of channels to be retransmitted in Latvia, including several channels of propaganda outlet Russia Today (RT), according to information published in the official gazette, Latvijas Vestnēsis. 

The channels banned are "RT (Russia Today)", "RT (Russia Today) HD", "RT (Russia Today) Arabic", "RT Documentary (HD)", "RT Documentary", "RT TV (Russia Today TV)", "RT (Russia Today) Spanish", "Mir24", "RBK-TV", "Rossiykiy Informatsionnyy Kanal "Rossiya 24"", "Rossija RTR", "TV Centre International", "Vremya: dalekoye i blizkoye", "Bobjor", "Dom Kino", "Dom Kino Premium", "Muzika Pervogo", "O!", "Poyekhali", "Telecafe" and "Peterburg - 5 kanal".

The NEPLP said that restrictions are necessary to achieve a legitimate objective of protecting people's rights, democratic state, public security, welfare and morality.

“The public has the right to have genuine information, and the role and duty of the media are to serve the public interest," it said, providing a lengthy account of the legal arguments in favor of a switch-off and European Union rules on the matter. 

"The Council concludes that in the current geopolitical situation, when the Russian Federation, in addition to the war in Ukraine, is also conducting an information war throughout Europe, including in Latvia, thus creating risks for Latvia's national security, the Council recognizes that the programs specified in this decision must be excluded from the list of programs to be rebroadcast," it added.

The broadcast bans come into effect on September 1 and while they may be appealed to the administrative district court, lodging a appeal will not stop the bans coming into force.

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