PM says €1m of party funding increase could be redirected to public media

A Justice Ministry initiative aims to funnel €5 million for a dramatic increase in funding for political parties next year, but PM Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) now says €1m of that could be instead spent on increasing wages at public media.

That's what the PM said October 1 after president Egils Levits addressed the government. Kariņš said the initiative had been discussed with the president and it would be offered for consideration to coalition partners.

The Justice Ministry initiative would see increase party funding from about €0.7 to €5.5 per vote, as well as providing parties with a base funding of €100,000. 

Earlier October 1 Kariņš said appearing on Latvian Radio that political parties have been too dependent on donors' money in the past. "We don't have political parties according to the European understanding. Parties with a maximum of two to three thousand people aren't big movements, really. I think it'd be wise for us to find a way to attract funding," he said.

On July 15 the board of Latvian Radio published an open letter addressed to high-ranking state officials, asking for wage funding to be boosted by €100,000 this year and nearly €1m the next to prevent newsroom standards from falling.

This followed an earlier open letter released by the news staff, which called the board to step down and described the situation in the newsroom as critical due to the repeated departure of journalists to other jobs as a result of low pay and overwork.

Latvian Radio is part of the same LSM public media organization as LSM English.

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