Government supports setting up two broadcast towers near border

Latvia will build two broadcast towers near the border with Russia and Belarus as part of measures intended to strengthen the country's information space, the government ruled this week behind closed doors.

Latvian Radio reported August 9 that the plan, and the funding for its initiatives, is not public as of now.

It is well established that Latvia's information space is particularly vulnerable near the border. Latvian Radio and Latvian Television is not available to some people living near the border with Russia and Belarus, and there's been discussion over the need to build broadcasting towers near Viļaka and Skaista.

Jānis Bokta, the head of the Latvia State Radio and Television Centre, confirmed that the towers will be built, and revealed that five channels are to be added to Latvia's terrestrial television (free TV).

It's estimated that the additional channels may cost Latvia about €430,000 a year.

"As we upgrade our equipment and build the two additional towers, the Radio and Television Centre commits to... provide ten channels - or move one of the terrestrial channels to HD," said Dace Ķezbere, head of the National Electronic Mass Media Council. 

Meanwhile Culture Minister Dace Melbārde revealed plans for a platform designed to fight fake news, with plans to involve NGOs, as well as academic and government institutions in what would be a regulation mechanism to fight disinformation.

"We want to be part of this lie-deconstructing platform that's being set up across the EU. That's why we have to come to an agreement over the way this regulation will be carried out," said Melbārde.

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