Board member quits media regulator

Gunta Līdaka, in charge of overseeing commercial television, has stepped down as board member at Latvia's media watchdog, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Līdaka told the press April 12. 

Līdaka said that, given the current fuss around NEPLP, she considers it impossible to continue as board member. "Instead of looking [for a solution], the public broadcaster is used as a political instrument in a mutual reckoning," she said.

"There is a crisis of mutual distrust, which has arisen between the media and the politicians. An analysis of the situation is lacking. We should analyse this situation, come to conclusions and adopt logical decisions for all parties, so that Latvia has strong public media and a strong media environment," Līdaka told Latvian Radio.

The other members at the NEPLP board – Aurēlija Ieva Druviete, Dace Ķezbere, Ivars Āboliņš un Patriks Grīva – confirmed that they aren't planning to step down.

NEPLP took to Twitter to express understanding about Līdaka's decision. "We can only agree that the political pressure over the matter of public media management and NEPLP's decision-making is unacceptable," the council said.

Respektējam @NEPLPadome locekles @GLidaka izvēli,atkāpjoties no amata. Varam piekrist, ka politiķu radītā spriedze ap sabiedriskā medija vadības jautājumu un NEPLP lēmumu pieņemšanas procesu, ir nepieņemama. Pateicamies @GLidaka par profesionālo darbu un ieguldījumu mediju nozarē

— NEPLPadome (@NEPLPadome) April 12, 2019

The troubles around the broadcast watchdog started in earnest after Einars Giels, controversially named to head LTV and Eva Juhņēviča, who was to head up LTV's digital development and content department, announced that they would not after all take up the positions they were named in just two weeks ago.

They stepped down after the choice of Giels in particular was criticized by politicians and journalists alike, and after a request by the Latvian Journalists' Association the prosecutor's office has started a check over the legality of choosing him as it appeared he did not have the professional qualifications required by law. 

LTV is part of the same public broadcast organization as LSM.

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