Russia blacklists chairs of Media Council and Latvian Language Center

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Russia has imposed an entry ban on the Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council head Ivars Āboliņš and director of Latvian State Language Center Māris Baltiņš, Russia's news agency TASS reported April 30.

The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has taken several decisions restricting Russian television broadcasting in Latvia, in relation to incitement to hatred and violence and also due to administrative issues. NEPLP chair Āboliņš, commenting on Russia's step, said that he regards this as a high evaluation of his and NEPLP's work: "We protected, are protecting and will protect our information space."

The Russian Foreign Ministry's website states that the European Union has taken "illegitimate unilateral" steps against Russian citizens, "accompanied by anti-Russian hysteria, deliberately spread by the Western media". As a response to sanctions imposed by the EU on March 2 and 22, 2021, on six citizens of Russia, Moscow has blacklisted eight EU citizens, including Āboliņš and Baltiņš.

Other blacklisted persons are resident of the European Parliament David Sassoli, Berlin chief prosecutor Jorg Raupach, Jacques Maire, a member of the French delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; Asa Scott, Head of the CBRN Protection and Security Division at the Swedish Defense Research Agency; Ilmar Tomusk, Director General of the Language Inspectorate, Estonia; Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency.

Latvian Foreign Ministry's response states that the decision on entry ban is "an attempt to exert pressure on Latvia concerning its national language and media policies. We consider this to be unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. The Foreign Service will not allow such action to pass unnoticed."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also expressed disapproval of the Russian move.


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