Media watchdog finds illegal TV retransmission on 35 websites in Latvia

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In the nine months of this year, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) identified illegal retransmission of television programs in the territory of Latvia without a retransmission permit, NEPLP said October 29 in a release.

All 35 homepages have undergone a restriction process in accordance with the Electronic Media Act. After receiving the NEPLP warning, four of the websites identified have themselves stopped illegally distributing television programs.

23 homepages have been limited for access for six months in accordance with the law, and eight have received warnings and time has been given to receive the necessary retransmission permit or to discontinue the retransmission.

The websites identified so far are mainly based in Russia and Ukraine and have largely illegally transmitted Russian TV programs.

“The results of the first nine months of this year are just the beginning of sorting out this area. (…) And we will now and in the future address the situation rigidly,” Ivars Āboliņš, head of NEPLP, said in a statement.

He said that illegal retransmission of television programs creates unfair competition for local television broadcasting providers operating under national regulation.

“Operating illegally causes significant damage to both the state and honest entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the illegal retransmission of such TV programs also means that unauthorized and nationally hostile content programs can be distributed freely in Latvia,” said Āboliņš.

NEPLP started to monitor the retransmission of TV programs online this year.

“There are thousands of homepages running in Latvia that broadcast TV programs. Of course, part of them work legally. However, the share of suspicious websites is high,” said Patriks Grīva, member of the NEPLP.

Therefore, NEPLP will need to increase resources for this work. The media supervisor also promises to encourage changes to the law so that the fight against illegal content is tougher and more effective. It is also a matter of national information space security.

NEPLP also calls on the public to report on home pages that redistribute local or foreign TV programs by writing to [email protected] or on Twitter.

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