Journalist association protests public broadcaster selection process, regulator hits back

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The Latvian Journalists Association (LŽA) has issued a statement calling for the termination of a current recuitment effort to find a head for the national broadcaster Latvian Television (LTV, of which LSM forms a part).

The LŽA said a new competition should be announced for vacancies on the board of LTV which met higher standards of corporate governance and invited the Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Commission and the Media Policy Subcommittee "to evaluate the activities of the [broadcast regulator] NEPLP so far in the selection of members of the LTV and Latvian Radio boards."

On 10 January, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) launched a competition for the selection of vacant LTV board members following the sudden dismissal of LTV chairman Ivars Belte and board member Sergejs Ņesterovs.

In the view of the LŽA, the selection method runs contrary to the requirements of Article 31 of the Law on Public Private Equity and Corporate Governance and Good Corporate Governance Practices, as it is being run in-house by NEPLP members rather than involving independent recruitment specialists and external industry experts.

"'According to the competition regulations, NEPLP members will both select and approve the new members of the LTV Board," the LŽA pointed out, raising concerns about the fairness of the competition.

The NEPLP quickly hit back at the LŽA statement saying it "disseminated false information".

"The Latvian Association of Journalists issued a public statement containing a series of false facts, allegations and possibly deliberately misrepresented information," it said in its own statement.

"In view of the special status of public media, applicants wishing to work in public media management should be aware of its mission and importance, and be prepared to engage in discussions, while the public (including public media users and employees) have the right to know about applicants for important positions in public media. In order to find a compromise between the applicants' right to privacy and the public's right to openness, the Tender Regulations provide for the disclosure of tenderers who will have entered the third round of the competition, where a meeting between the tenderers and Latvian Television (LTV) will be organized," the NEPLP said.

The LŽA's statement that no independent specialists are attached to the LTV Board Nomination Commission is false.... We want to remind the LŽA, which advocates for the media environment and the transparency of the processes, that new European directives require the regulator to be independent and politically unaffected. NEPLP is responsible for ensuring that there is no other type of lobby, including from commercial organizations, in the competition for the public media board," it said.



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