Saeima holds back controversial whistleblowing amendment

The Latvian parliament on Wednesday decided to temporarily remove a provision from national security amendments that would according to journalists criminalize whistleblowing.

The provision in question has been temporarily removed and will be reviewed in two weeks following discussion as agreement was reached Wednesday between Kristīne Līce, Latvia's representative at the European Court of Human Rights, and MP Gaidis Bērziņš (National Alliance), head of the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee.

On Wednesday the Latvian Journalists' Association, the country's main journalist body, said one of the provisions of the amendments would see journalists and whistleblowers facing the possibility of jail time for exposing classified information even if in the public interest. 

The amendments in general are being touted as necessary to counter espionage.

They are proposed by Unity member Solvita Aboltina and have been placed on a "fast track" through parliament, meaning they receive two readings rather than the usual three. The decisive second reading is due to take place April 21.  

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