New members appointed at broadcast watchdog

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The Latvian parliament on Thursday appointed Ivars Abolins, Gunta Lidaka, Patriks Griva and Ieva Beitika as members of the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), the country's broadcast authority.

Abolins was appointed to the NEPLP by 67 votes to three, Beitika received 81 votes, with nobody voting against her and three MPs abstaining. Griva was appointed to the council by 79 votes to one and two abstentions, and Lidaka was supported by 80 MPs, with nobody voting against her and two lawmakers abstaining.

Earlier, the above candidates were endorsed by the Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee.

Members of the Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee raised no concerns about Lidaka and Griva's existing or past involvement with commercial media and its possible influence on their forthcoming work at NEPLP.

Saeima had to elect four new members to the NEPLP as the mandate of four existing members of the council ends on February 2.

According to LETA, Lidaka is the executive director at Latvian Broadcasters Association; Abolins is a former editor at Latvian Television's Programming Department; Ieva Beitika is a lecturer at the University of Latvia; while Griva is the founder of the marketing company.

As well as acting as broadcast watchdog with the power to take action if illegal or inappropriate material is broadcast, NEPLP is also in overall charge of the funding of public broadcasting in Latvia, including the LSM news portals in Latvian, Russian and English.

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