Police investigate MP Kiršteins' insult of LTV journalist

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The State Police has launched an investigation of the Saeima deputy Aleksandrs Kiršteins (National Alliance) calling the Latvian Television journalist Anete Bērtule a 'political prostitute', LETA reported September 30.

The police have received an application and an inspection has been launched to assess whether there are grounds for initiating criminal proceedings, the police representative Gita Gžibovska told LETA. 

The Criminal Law currently provides that "for a person who knowingly commits intentional distribution of fictions, knowing them to be untrue and defamatory of another person, in printed or otherwise reproduced material, as well as orally, if such has been committed publicly (defamation), the applicable punishment is the probationary supervision or community service, or fine".

On September 25, on Twitter, Kiršteins, commenting on the pre-election debate on LTV, wrote: “The political prostitute Bērtule, leading the debate of Saeima candidates on LTV1, lies all the time that politicians [of NA] want to abolish the Constitutional Court, without mentioning it should be transferred to the Supreme Court as in Estonia, Finland and Sweden! In pre-war Latvia, Constitutional issues were viewed by Supreme Court Senate!"

LTV subsequently called for an assessment of Kiršteins' behavior. LTV stressed that Saeima deputies and candidates have repeatedly been rude to LTV journalists, deliberately targeting their work and privacy, and trying to reduce confidence in professional journalism and independent, free social media.

According to LTV, Kiršteins' statements demean LTV's reputation as well as the honor and dignity of the journalist.

The Latvian Association of Journalists has also turned to the Saeima with a request to evaluate the ethical conduct of the deputy Kiršteins.

His gutter rhetoric was also condemned by international reporters' organization Reporters Without Borders.

 

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