Country report – Latvia May 2017

31.05.2017 13:22
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New members appointed to National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP)

February 1 was the last day in office for four Council members – Aija Dulevska, Dainis Mjartāns, Ainārs Dimants and Ivars Zviedris – who had been working at the NEPLP for five years. Dace Ķezbere, who was appointed to the NEPLP by Saeima in June 2015, will continue in her job. The new NEPLP members are Ieva Beitika, Gunta Līdaka, Patriks Grīva and Ivars Āboliņš.

Dace Ķezbere was elected as the new NEPLP chairperson, who was the acting head of the NEPLP prior to that. Ivars Āboliņš was elected NEPLP deputy chairman.

The Council members agreed on division of responsibilities at the NEPLP, with each Council member taking responsibility for one area, and shared responsibility for one more area. NEPLP members’ responsibilities were divided as follows:

Supervision of VSIA Latvijas Televīzija (Latvian Television) – Ieva Beitika (responsible Council member), Dace Ķezbere (co-responsible Council member) 

Supervision of VSIA Latvijas Radio (Latvian Radio) – Ivars Āboliņš (responsible Council member), Patriks Grīva (co-responsible Council member)

Supervision of commercial radio industry – Patriks Grīva (responsible Council member), Ivars Āboliņš (co-responsible Council member) 

Supervision of commercial television industry – Gunta Līdaka (responsible Council member), Ieva Beitika (co-responsible Council member)

Supervision of cable television industry – Dace Ķezbere (responsible Council member), Gunta Līdaka (co-responsible Council member)

Inter-institutional cooperation and legislative process – Gunta Līdaka (responsible Council member) and all other Council members pursuant to their areas of individual responsibility 

International cooperation in electronic mass media industry – Ieva Beitika (responsible Council member) and all other Council members pursuant to their areas of individual responsibility 

 

Employees at regional, local televisions discuss development of the media

For the fourth year in a row, the NEPLP organized a seminar for experience exchange that brought together employees from regional and local televisions across Latvia. The objective of the seminar was to improve quality of videos filmed and aired by the televisions. Participants in the seminar had the opportunity to meet members of the NEPLP, Roberts Putnis, head of the Media Policy Department at the Ministry of Culture, Linda Pavļuta, head of Latvia’s Centennial Bureau, and the bureau’s public relations officer Linda Pastare.

 

NEPLP introduces online registration for cable televisions

The NEPLP has approved a procedure for issuing rebroadcasting permits and granting electronic mass media the right to rebroadcast audio and audiovisual programs. According to the new procedure, from January 1, 2017 programs rebroadcast by cable televisions have to be registered with the online registration system of NEPLP. The system can be accessed here: http://neplpadome.lv/lv/sakums/kabelu-operatori/registrs.html

 

Only Latvian Radio to have the right to test digital terrestrial broadcasting in Latvia

VSIA Latvijas Radio (Latvian Radio, LR), in cooperation with Latvian State Radio and Television Center (Latvijas Valsts radio un televīzijas centrs) will have the right to test digital terrestrial broadcasting in the DAB+ standard in Latvia from November 17, 2016 to November 16, 2017. The NEPLP has decided that digital radio broadcasting would not be offered to commercial electronic mass media during that period. As part of the test, LVRTC will use the existing transmitter platform to air LR programs for one year. Latvia has so far not examined the potential advantages that the technology could bring to society and radio industry of the country.

 

NEPLP approves short-term low-power FM frequencies

The NEPLP has endorsed amendments to the National Development Strategy for the Electronic Mass Media Industry in 2012-2017. The NEPLP strategy stipulates that short-term low-power FM frequencies may be allocated for cultural, entertainment, sports and other events in a specific geographic location in Latvia, provided that this is also permitted by VAS Elektroniskie Sakari (Electronic Communications). Such low-power frequencies may be approved for periods not exceeding seven days. A local low-power frequency is meant only for those attending a given event, and the audio program is only broadcast within, or in close proximity of, the area of the event.

 

NEPLP passes vote of no confidence against two LR board members

During a meeting on March 2, the NEPLP unanimously passed a vote of no confidence against VSIA Latvijas Radio (Latvian Radio, LR) board chairman Aldis Pauliņš and board member responsible for procurement matters, Uldis Lavrinovičs. Both were recalled from the LR board, effective March 2, 2017. The NEPLP has requested LR board member Sigita Roķe to prepare in two months her proposals regarding LR management and the company’s development in the future.

The two LR board members had lost the Council’s trust as the NEPLP had established that the two were unable to cooperate and ensure effective management of LR, thereby hampering LR’s public service remit. The two LR board members could not give the NEPLP a convincing vision of LR development and explain how the management of LR would be improved. The NEPLP wishes to develop LR into a modern company, which requires convincing and united teamwork from the management.

 

Re:TV and RīgaTV 24 win tenders for free terrestrial broadcasting

SIA Vidzemes Televīzija (Vidzeme Television, program Re:TV) has won a tender for producing regional broadcasts in 2107 to 2019. As part of public service remit, the television offered to produce three series of broadcasts in 2017: Latvijas stāsti. Personības (Stories of Latvia. Personalities) – 102 episodes, 100 recepšu Latvijas simtgadei (100 Recipes for Centennial of Latvia) – 28 episodes, and Nedēļa Latvijā (The Week in Latvia) – 24 episodes.

AS TV Latvija (program RīgaTV 24) won the right to produce news and documentaries from 2107 to 2019. As part of public service remit, the television offered to produce four series of broadcasts in 2017: Globuss (The Globe) – 51 episodes, Preses klubs (Press Club) – 144 episodes, series of documentaries Kas te tik laikmetīgs? (What’s so Contemporary About It?) – 20 films, as well as weekly broadcasts Patriotiskā nedēļa (Patriotic Week).

A total of EUR 348,603 is to be made available to each winning bid in 2017, and no more than EUR 348,603 in 2018 and 2019. The tender was announced so that residents of Latvia would have the opportunity to watch various TV broadcasts via free terrestrial television. At the moment, there are five free-of-charge terrestrial television channels in Latvia: LTV1, LTV7, Re:TV, RīgaTV 24 and Sportacentrs.com TV (the contract with the latter will remain in force until 2018).

 

Tender for production of regional news closes

The NEPLP tender for production of regional TV news in 2017 has been won by SIA Skrundas TV (in Kurzeme province), SIA Valmieras TV (Vidzeme), SIA Latgales Reģionālā Televīzija (Latgale) and SIA Televīzijas Studija “TV Spektrs” (Zemgale). The objective of the tender was to commission news videos from the regions of Latvia for the public service remit of SIA Latvijas Televīzija (Latvian Television). A total of EUR 244,259 has been made available to the winning bidders. Regional TV news stories cover the developments in Kurzeme, Zemgale, Vidzeme and Latgale provinces (ensuring the use of Latgalian language). The financing is meant for the production of a total of 301 videos.

 

Winning bids selected for production of TV and radio broadcasts by media in Latgale

The NEPLP has selected the winning bids for the production of broadcasts by regional and local mass media of Latgale province in 2017. SIA Lietišķā Latgale won the right to develop a radio program by continuing the series of broadcasts Pi myusim Latgolā, which has been on the air since the end of 2012. SIA Lietišķā Latgale offered to produce 88 broadcasts in the Latvian and Latgalian languages. Independent production group SIA Studija 3KM won the right to develop TV programs. SIA Studija 3KM offered to produce 12 educational broadcasts for the Sajūti Latgali series. The total financing for each bidder is EUR 35,571.

 

TV Latvija and Vidzemes Televīzija win tender for allocation of public service remit to commercial TVs

SIA Vidzemes Televīzija (program Re:TV) and AS TV Latvija (program RīgaTV 24) have won the NEPLP tender for allocation of part of public service remit to commercial televisions in 2017 for the production and broadcasting of broadcasts aiming to preserve national cultural heritage of Latvia in the context of the centenary of Latvia. Vidzemes Televīzija will produce broadcasts on regional developments in Latvia, while TV Latvija will produce broadcasts about the key personalities of Latvia. The total financing available to the tender winners is EUR 200,000, and the TV broadcasts will be produced and broadcast from April 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.