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E. Rinkēvičs: “Doždj” ir jāatbild par ēterā izskanējušo

Rinkēvičs: Letting TV Rain into Latvia was correct

Allowing the Russian television channel “TV Rain” or “Dozhdj” to take shelter from Kremlin censorship and to work in Latvia was the right decision, the Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs told Latvian Television on December 5, adding that the channel should be held responsible for providing assistance to the Russian army.

As reported, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) fined TV Rain for displaying a map in which occupied Crimea was marked as Russian territory and for calling the Russian army “our army” in a piece that mentioned how viewers could help provide recruits to the illegal invasion force with supplies and equipment.

TV Rain, which broadcasts with a Latvian license, fired their journalist, Alexey Korostelev, when he expressed in a broadcast that the television channel had helped many Russian soldiers, such as supplies and basic amenities on the front. 

The chief editor of TV Rain stressed that what had been said on the air was an “unacceptable incident”.

“Of course we do not support the Russian army. No one could ever have such thoughts. [..] We have never supported the Russian army. And because we do not support it, but we regard the Russian army as a force committing war crimes on Ukrainian territory, that is why we are not now in Russia,” said Tikhon Dzyadko, chief editor of TV Rain.

A plan for action if the channel is stripped of their license, which can be done if there are three serious offenses, is not currently in place. "I don't know. I don't have a plan. I just know that if such a decision is taken, first of all, thousands of Russian-speaking residents of Latvia will lose access to information on Russian army crimes in Ukraine. As a minimum, 14 million Russian citizens will lose access to this information on a monthly basis," said Dzyadko.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs said that TV Rain will have to comply with Latvian laws on the basis of which it is allowed to work in our country.

“I think that, at the moment, of course, everyone can come up with loud statements, and politicians always like it. But given that we are talking about the media anyway, given that it is a relatively sensitive border between freedom of expression and actually supporting war, I think it would be very wise that, at the beginning, the institution that really has the task and responsibility to evaluate such cases should consider this and come up with a concrete conclusion on how far to proceed,” the minister said.

Currently, the inspections carried out by the State Security Service and the National Electronic Mass Media Council will continue.

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