Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has banned 16 Russian TV channels, including ones that spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
All are either rebroadcast Russian channels or regional versions of such. The regulator hasn’t been able to find out who owns the rebroadcasting rights according to its Feb. 9 statement.
The following channels will be forced off the air at midnight on Feb. 10: REN TV Baltic, NTV Mir Baltic, Karusel International, NTV Serial, NTV Stilj, NTV Pravo, Kinomiks, Nashe Novoye Kino, “Rodnoye Kino”, Indiyskoye Kino, Kinokomediya, Kinoseriya, KVN TV, Kukhnya TV, Boks TV, and HD Life. NTV and REN TV are especially infamous for their anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
The company SIA “TEM LV” formerly had rebroadcasting rights to all 16 but doesn’t anymore.
Oleg Solodov, the co-owner of SIA “TEM LV’s” parent company, Baltic Media Alliance, is allegedly under EU sanctions.
NEPLP announced that it may have found the new broadcast rights holder but did not reveal its name. This entity has yet to submit documents proving its ownership of broadcasting rights.
The regulator said it would keenly examine local media for similar violations.
“In order to protect the Latvian information space, NEPLP will intensify its inspection of all channels in the register of retransmitted programs in Latvia and, if similar cases are identified, it will act appropriately,” said Ivars Abolins, a chairman of the Council.
On Feb. 8, the Council also suspended the broadcasting rights of Russian TV channel Russia RTR for one year, saying its content incites hatred, violence and military conflict. Its TV host Olga Skabeeva called Ukraine a terrorist country and Ukraine’s former president Petro Poroshenko a terrorist.
Russia’s Embassy in Latvia wrote on Facebook that this decision was made “in the finest dictatorial tradition.”
A year ago, the Latvian State Security Service inspected several offices in Latvia and Estonia, including the office of the Baltic Media Alliance, for alleged breaches of EU sanctions.
The sanctions had been imposed for undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.
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