National Alliance pushes plan to restrict Russian propaganda TV channels

The right-of-center National Alliance party has called on its coalition partners – Unity and the Union of Greens and Farmers – to agree on a joint plan for restricting the broadcasting of Russian propaganda TV channels in Latvia, the party’s representative Dace Kalnina told LETA April 16.

The National Alliance is urging the coalition partners to look for solutions to the problem so that Saeima could take “resolute steps” prior to the upcoming parliamentary elections to protect Latvia’s media environment against Russian propaganda, the National Alliance said in a statement.

Representatives of the National Alliance have expressed readiness to come up with the party’s own proposals and to hear the coalition partners’ ideas aimed at ensuring that those who spread “false information and information unfriendly to Latvia reached as few people in Latvia as possible”.

“Implementing effective measures aimed at protecting the media environment requires the understanding and support of all coalition partners. It is essential for parties not to regard this issue as a subject of pre-election interests but an issue of national strategic interests,” said National Alliance chairman Raivis Dzintars.

The politician noted that many cable television providers in Latvia include the Russian propaganda TV channels in their leas expensive or the so called basic packages. “It is also an absurd situation where the state-owned company Lattelecom, with a wide range of Kremlin TV channels in its package, effectively acts against Latvia’s security interests,” said Dzintars.

At today’s meeting of the coalition cooperation council, the National Alliance plans to call on its coalition partners to agree on how the parties’ proposals concerning the issue could be discussed.

In 2016 Latvia's broadcast authority, the National Electronic Mass Media Council banned the Rossiya RTR Russian TV channel from being rebroadcast in Latvia for six months.

Also in 2016, Latvia's domain registrar shut down the Latvian domain name of the Kremlin-funded Sputnik propaganda outlet that poses as a newswire.

It is nevertheless available under a non-Latvian domain name, but remains quite unpopular, perhaps in part owing to the obvious fact its news aren't written by someone with native Latvian proficiency. 

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