Future of LSM English and Russian services to be included in state budget

An official representative of Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš told the Saeima February 14 that keeping the LSM English- and Russian-language services alive despite financial constraints was part of the government's budget plan.

Saeima was again discussing the issue as a result of a motion tabled by the opposition Harmony party. Last week their legislative attempt calling for secure funding for LSM and the Russian-language content of national broadcaster LTV was voted down by parties in the coalition government, who said that funding would nevertheless be found, but that they would not support such a motion coming from the opposition seats in Saeima.

Today Kariņš' representative, parliamentary secretary Elina Siliņa, told lawmakers that the government was "really looking at opposition proposals" and that after discussions with the Finance Ministry, EUR 191 047 was pencilled in for funding Latvian Radio activities, EUR 121 005 "for content creation of Latvian Television and LSM for minority languages [including Russian- Ed] and English", and EUR 71 144 for "regional and local media content for social unification and strengthening national identity and state language programs."

A section of the forthcoming State Budget would contain all of this for lawmakers to approve or reject, Siliņa said, inviting them to support it - though it has yet to be placed before them. 

However, the debate Thursday was merely a general discussion and no parliamentary vote required.

As recently reported by LSM, budget constraints within public broadcasting saw the LSM English- and Russian-language services among the first items on the chopping block, though ministers and others quickly said funding should be found. 

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