Latvian Radio news staff disagree to mediated talks

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After meeting the mediator the board of Latvian Radio had chosen to lead talks between the board and the news service, the Latvian Radio News Service says it will not start a formal mediation process.

The news service said it thinks mediation will not help solving substantial problems. For example, mediation would not reduce the political influentiability or the incompetence of some board members, it said.

The News Service likewise said communication with employees and finding money to strengthen the service is the task of the board and the National Electronic Mass Media Council, and public money should not be spent on hiring a mediator.

Meanwhile the board of Latvian Radio said that it upholds the opinion it voiced last week, when it asked for extra allocations over the course of the next three years. 

"We will fight for the Latvian Radio budget until the end. May deeds speak of our professionalism and ability to extricate the public broadcaster from problems accrued over the course of decades," said board chairwoman Una Klapkalne.

Meanwhile she said that the stance of the news service amounts to asking for control over the board and its selection process. 

On July 15 the board of Latvian Radio published an open letter addressed to high-ranking state officials, asking for wage funding to be boosted by €100,000 this year and nearly €1m the next to prevent newsroom standards from falling.

This followed an earlier open letter released by the news staff, which called the board to step down and described the situation in the newsroom as critical due to the repeated departure of journalists to other jobs as a result of low pay and overwork.

Latvian Radio is part of the same LSM public media organization as LSM English.

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