It is currently planned that this week, March 30, the Saeima will vote in the second, final, reading on changes to the law, as the amendments to the law are regarded as a matter of urgency. If the Saeima abolished the urgency of amendments to the law, these should be seen in three readings.
In the second reading, politicians of the National Alliance have tabled a number of proposals for the merger of public media related to the restriction of Russian content. It is proposed, for example, not to fund Russian-language public media content from 2026.
The Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee intends to evaluate these proposals on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the public media regulator – Public Electronic Mass Media Council (SEPLP) doesn't support proposals that don't apply to the merger of public media. SEPLP Chief Executive Jānis Siksnis previously said the council was surprised by the various proposals submitted by politicians.
On the other hand, Latvian Radio officials have called for a halt to the merger of public media in an open letter to state officials, because they believe that “the unwarranted haste-driven amendments to the law, which, from January 1, 2024, intend to merge Latvian Radio and Latvian Television, will not contribute to the strengthening of public media, but will weaken their influence and increase the risk of political manipulation”.
Prime Minister Kariņš writes on Twitter that, in his view, the urgency of the law's amendments should be reversed. Similarly, in the Prime Minister's view, a public discussion is essential, as well as “media policy issues should be viewed in parallel with the guidelines for media policy and funding opportunities”.
Uzskatu, ka jāatceļ steidzamība Saeimā izskatāmiem grozījumiem Sabiedrisko elektronisko plašsaziņas līdzekļu un to pārvaldības likumā. Būtiska ir publiska diskusija, kā arī mediju politikas jautājumi jāskata kopsolī ar mediju politikas pamatnostādnēm un finansējuma iespējām.— Krišjānis Kariņš (@krisjaniskarins) March 27, 2023