The National Electronic Mass Media Council of Latvia (NEPLP), in compliance with sanctions imposed by Council of the European Union (EU), has decided to ban thedistribution of seven RT (formerly known as Russia Today) group channels in Latvia.
In a statement, it says “RT, RT HD, RT Arabic, RT Spanish, RT Documentary HD, RT Documentary, RT TV are restricted because they are in effective control, possession and sole control of Dmitrii Kiselev, who is a subject to sanctions imposed by Council of the European Union (EU) for undermining of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”.
NEPLP also argues that RT, along with other Russian broadcasters, have tried to portray Latvia as a failed state.
According to NEPLP chairperson Ivars Abolins, “The evidence we have obtained is very strong and we will ask all EU regulators to follow our example and restrict RT on their territory. There is no place for such programmes either in Latvia or in the European Union”.
The adoption of this decision was largely facilitated by the new amendments to the
Electronic Mass Media Law, which were announced in June.
The decision will come into force upon notification and will remain in force until
Kiselev is removed from the EU sanction list.
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian regulator LRTK has drawn attention to the decision NEPLP to ban the retransmission of seven Russia Today (RT) channels and also called on members of the EU to do the same. In a statement, Mantas Martisius, chairman of LRTL, said: “The LRTK is ready to make decisions on the suspension of channels in accordance with the sanctions of the EU, if the conclusion of the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is competent for the implementation of sanctions, is obtained”.
He also pointed out that several of the 45 channels banned in Latvia are retransmitted by three companies in Lithuania.