The Latvian ban on Russian broadcasting includes entertainment channels as well

Riga will host Russia’s main opposition TV channel

Riga will host Russia’s main opposition TV channel

Meanwhile, Latvia banned the broadcasting of all other Russian tv stations on its territory

Russia’s main opposition television channel TV Rain (Dozhd) is set to return on air after ceasing operation in early March in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The TV station has found a new home in the Latvian capital Riga following three months of negotiations.

After Russia introduced full censorship on the independent media, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs confirmed Latvia's readiness to receive the persecuted Russian journalists and to help them as much as possible. For example, the Russian opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta is already published in the Baltic country.

On the other hand, Latvia has issued its own blanket censorship when it comes to official Russian media. The distribution of 80 Russian-registered television channels was banned on Monday, 6 June, by the country’s National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP), and will take effect on 9 June.

An Iron Curtain in the media landscape

The move behind the wholesale media embargo on Russia was made possible after the Latvian parliament (Saeima) voted amendments to the Electronic Media Law. The latter grants NEPLP the right to restrict foreign programs from countries that threaten the territorial sovereignty of other countries.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Latvia banned the main Kremlin-backed television channels, which were seen as war propaganda mouthpieces. Now the blanket restriction covers all other channels, including hunting and fishing programs.

The argument behind banning these types of non-political television stations was that paying revenue for their broadcasting rights was yet another way to fund Putin’s war effort.

There is a glimmer of hope for the future, however, since Ivars Āboliņš, Chairman of NEPLP, told LETA news agency that the ban can be reversed after Russia retreats from Ukraine (including Crimea).



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