Saeima committee supports sacking Chairman of broadcast regulator

The Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee has decided to sack Ainārs Dimants, the Chairman of the National Electronic Mass Media Council. The Committee has partially made good on Saeima's submission to dismiss the council. It decided against the dismissal of three other members Aija Dulevska, Dainis Mjartāns un Ivars Zviedris.

As well as acting as broadcast watchdog with the power to take action if illegal or inappropriate material is broadcast, the NEMMC is also in overall charge of the funding of public broadcasting in Latvia, including the LSM news portals in Latvian, Russian and English.

The Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee held a meeting attended by politicians, members of the committee, and lawyers of the Saeima. As suggested by Saeima's Legal Office, the committee decided to separate the submission made by members of the Saeima into four different bills. 

The Saeima will have the final say on implementing the bills, and its MPs are expected to accept the bill next week.

The proceedings for firing the NEMMC started on June 17th when leaders of four Saeima factions, including the leading Unity party, the Regional Alliance Party and the Greens and Farmers Alliance filed a submission for the dismissal of the NEMMC, criticizing it for inefficient spending, increasing Russian programming on the radio, and 'losing face'. 

Ainārs Dimants later told Ivo Leitāns of Lavian Radio that he considers the decision "illegitimate" and that his previously expressed arguments still hold. He said that the decision of the committee and shown support in Saeima was not made on legal grounds but based on preference. 

"The fight is not over," he added.

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