Levits supports Latvian public media exiting ad market

President Egils Levits, during a meeting with the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) on July 30, expressed his support for the exit of public service media from the advertising market, Latvian Radio reported.

The President said it was especially important for public media [which includes LSM] to leave the advertising market from the society's perspective. The role of public service media is not profit, but work for the public interest.

“The exit of public media from the advertising market would ensure the society's needs for an independent and democratic information source, because strong information space is more important to Latvia than ever. As we are a relatively small society, we especially need public media of high quality and the quality of which is monitored by society (..) In addition, leaving the advertising market would make public media free of ratings and therefore independent so that they can fulfill their public role.

When the advertising market is contained to commercial media only, their activities would also be strengthened and the quality of the information space in Latvia would improve in general,” Levits said in the statement to the media.

The NEPLP concept presented to the government estimates €8.3 million is needed for public media to exit the advertising market.

In preparation to exit the advertising market, public media aren't entering into advertising contracts for next year.

It is therefore important that clarity on the financing of lost revenue from the State is as soon as possible. It is estimated that without advertisements on Latvian Radio and Latvian Television there would be 2,000 vacant hours to be filled with original content.

"Of course, the funds are impressive. Consequently, if funding is totally refused, the scenario is very sad. We need to adapt to new circumstances and think how we will continue to operate, "said LTV board member Ivars Priede.

In order for public media to prepare for next year's content, the amount of funding needs to be known six months in advance. That is right now. Government and the Saeima are to decide on the funding when revising next year's budget.

In 2018, the Saeima decided that public service media exit the advertising market starting 2021. According to estimates, this requires €13.8 million, of which €8.3 million is needed next year.

 

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