11 February 2021

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 11, 2021: Latvian ban on retransmission of 16 television channels

On February 8, 2021, we commented on Latvia’s ban on the retransmission of the Rossiya-RTR television channel, and now there are reports on introducing additional restrictions in the Latvian media space.

The National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) of Latvia has decided to ban the retransmission of 16 television channels, including NTV Mir Baltic, Ren TV Baltic and others, from February 10. They claim that this is a temporary measure that was motivated by the regulator’s need to clarify the legal ownership of these channels and to determine whether the EU sanctions apply to them. However, they could have clarified  all the legal intricacies without terminating broadcasting. We are not naïve and understand what is going on. What surprises us is the undisguised lies. If you make decisions that you believe are justified, then you should explain your behaviour to your EU partners. But you sit around a table with them discussing the need to introduce more sanctions against Russia for “violating democratic principles”.  Don’t forget about yourselves and your own gross violations.

This is a well-known formula of the Baltic reality. They are awkwardly trying to cover up informational opposition to dissent and persecution of everything linked with the Russian language, including such channels as Kinomiks, Nashe Novoye Kino (Our New Cinema) and NTV Serial, which have purely cultural and educational content.

All this can be characterised as a continuation of the anti-Russia hysteria campaign that has engulfed Latvia at a time when specialised international institutions do not have the required influence on Riga. We would like to once again remind them of their obligation to monitor the freedom of speech and media in countries that are members of these organisations.