Country report – Latvia September 2016

09.09.2016 15:57

New NEPLP policy initiatives confirmed

The NEPLP in June confirmed new policy initiatives for the next three years, aimed at fostering the development of the electronic mass media sector. Among the priority initiatives that will require financing in the coming years is the establishment of a new Public Electronic Mass Media Council that will be responsible for management of Latvian public electronic mass media and providing the public service remit, ensuring operations of Latgale Multimedia Studio pursuant to objectives defined in the National Identity, Civil Society, and Integration Policy Guidelines for 2012-2018, ensuring that there is more content about Latgale province in the public media (according to the NEPLP Program on Latgale Electronic Media), additional financing for acquiring Olympic Games broadcasting rights, consolidating multimedia content for youth and economically-active residents in the Russian language, improving access to broadcasts for viewers with special needs, payment of royalties to copyright agencies, and others.

IMLO Lat–Ireland submits the winning bid for TV series about Latvian diaspora

Irish company IMLO Lat–Ireland Ltd won a competition organized by the NEPLP and Ministry of Foreign Affairs for creating a TV series and broadcasts on the theme of Latvian diaspora. As part of the public service remit, IMLO Lat–Ireland is planning to create five broadcasts titled “Fifth Province” about the activities and developments involving Latvian communities in Europe and the world. The broadcasts will be included on the Latvian TV channel Re:TV’s program, and posted on several Internet portals. A total of EUR 23,000 has been allotted for filming the broadcasts about Latvian communities abroad. This is the third such competition organized with the aim of informing the public about Latvian communities abroad.

Latvian Radio Studio in Rēzekne up and running

Latgale multimedia studio of the Latvian Radio, established as part of the NEPLP Latgale Electronic Media Program, opened its doors in Rēzekne on July 12. The goal of the studio is to consolidate information links between Latgale and the other provinces of Latvia, and guarantee that residents living near the eastern border are provided information about the developments in Latvia and the world. The studio will ensure regional information flow on all Latvian Radio programs, generate content for the portal, and in the future develop joint projects with Latvian Television. Saeima Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee has allotted financing of EUR 155,000 for the studio in Rēzekne. Taking into consideration that two distinct information spaces exist in Latgale as residents can freely watch the neighbor country’s TV programs and are exposed to different information and interpretations of national, international, economic, social and cultural developments, the Latvian Radio studio will ensure that full information about developments in Latvia and the world reach residents living near the border. The studio is a precondition for increasing the public media’s audience in Latgale and for strengthening the Latgalian identity and language.

Cable operators warned about the content of rebroadcast programs

The NEPLP has sent letters of warning to Latvian cable television operators concerning violations in the Russian TV program Rossiya 24 content. The NEPLP Monitoring Center has established that newscast News at 23 was biased and offered viewers information that was not true (for instance, a discussion about alleged plans for construction of concentration camps in Latvia for the so-called fifth column, that is, participants in the discussion presented their assumptions and interpretations as facts). The Monitoring Center concluded that the said broadcast was tendentious and failing to remain neutral. Given that Rossiya 24 is not within the jurisdiction of EU member countries, it is to be applied the Electronic Mass Media Law section, which stipulates that cable operators that rebroadcast such programs are to ensure that these programs meet requirements of the law (Section 19, Part 4 of the Electronic Mass Media Law). The NEPLP has warned Latvia’s cable operators, urging them to pay attention to the content they rebroadcast and whether it meets legal requirements.