Latvia

Latvia

Pro-Kremlin media sanctioned

The Latvian authorities continued to move against pro-Kremlin media in 2020. The legal grounds given for the investigation into the Baltic Media Alliance, a pro-Kremlin media holding company – which led to the closure of the Perviy Baltijskij TV channel’s news service, the ban on the Russian TV network RT, and arrests of local employees of pro-Kremlin media – were the European Union’s sanctions on Russian citizens supporting Moscow policy aimed at destabilising Ukraine. The motives for the measures taken by the Latvian security service and the National Electronic Mass Media Council lacked transparency. At the same time, most of the people placed under surveillance in this investigation were wrongly identified as journalists, providing fuel for the Kremlin campaign to portray Latvian press freedom as a fiction. Several independent media companies have left Russia in recent years because of threats against their journalists and their work, and have set up operation in Latvia. The Latvian Association of Journalists and the police signed a statement guaranteeing journalists’ safety. Parliament passed a law banning regional and local municipal authorities from publishing news in the same way as the media, thereby satisfying long-standing demands by the media for an end to this form of unfair competition. Concern was expressed about the availability of information during the Covid-19 pandemic because governmental meetings were held behind closed doors and decision-making lacked transparency. While journalists had access to some information, the crisis raised questions about media viability and pluralism. The Latvian media received state aid but not enough to improve their situation in the long term.

22
in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Ranking

0

22 in 2020

Global score

+0.70

18.56 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
Go to the barometre