LTV executives quit before taking up their positions

Two people named to senior positions within Latvian Television (LTV, part of the same public broadcast organization as LSM) said April 8 that they would not be taking up their jobs after all.

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.

The National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP), which came under heavy criticism after making the appointments - particularly in the case of Giels but less so with Juhņēviča -  said in a brief statement that it had met with both of them on Monday morning today and "discussed the current situation."

"At 14.00, the applicants informed [the NEPLP] about the abandonment of the positions obtained by the tendering procedure," the NEPLP said, adding that it "understands and respects the decisions of both applicants."

However, it then went on the offensive against the politicians and media groups who had criticized the appointments on the basis that Giels appeared to almost completely lack relevant media experience and had made several controversial comments since the announcement of his appointment. 

"It was shown that some politicians are ready to go beyond any boundary - as regards sovereign decision-making by statutory independent bodies, as well as to the internal processes of public media," said Dace Kezbere, president of NEPLP.

In language unlikely to mollify the situation she described opposition to the appointments as a "lynch mob" that had "put pressure on an independent body with the sole aim of achieving the desired result."

The NEPLP said that the tender process had been lawful and made no mention of any plan to repeat it.

The pair had been due to start work on April 15.

In a conversation with the Latvian Radio Juhņēviča said was possible she might re-apply for this post if a new competition was organized, but in the current situation she considered her decision to refuse her post as the only correct solution.

"I am very sorry that this situation has arisen, but I believe that this is the only right solution at the moment... I did not see the prospect of how this situation could be resolved otherwise,” explained Juhņēviča.

In a Facebook post, Giels said he had come under intense journalistic "pressure" that was designed to undermine his reputation but did not want to comment at length.

 
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