Disinfo: Baltic states continuously obstruct work of Russian media


Latvia stopped retransmission of channel “Rossiya RTR” in cable TV networks.

The authorities of Baltic states continuously obstruct work of Russian media. It is coordinated action. The cases of the oppression of Russian media in the Baltic states show the real worth of demagogical statements of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn about their commitment to democracy and freedom of the speech.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States.

On 8 February 2021, Latvia's broadcast regulator, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) suspended rebroadcasting of the Russian government-owned “Rossiya RTR” program in Latvia for a full year commencing on 15 February. The decision was taken because significant violations of the law had been identified, in connection with incitement of animosity and hatred, encouragement to engage in violence, and kindling military conflict.

Both the Latvian national law on electronic mass media as well as the European Union's Audiovisual Media Services Directive prohibit the incitement of hatred, calls to engage in violence, and the kindling of military conflict. The NEPLP decision was taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in the European Union's Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and conveyed to representatives not only of Rossiya RTR, but also representatives of the European Commission and the Swedish media regulator (since “Rossiya RTR” is registered in Sweden).

This is not the first time such a suspension has been imposed on Rossiya RTR. On 31 January 2019, the NEPLP took the decision to suspend retransmission of “Rossiya RTR” into Latvia’s territory for a period of three months in accordance with Latvia’s law on the electronic mass media. On 3 May 2019, the European Commission confirmed that the measures which Latvia’s NEPLP had decided to take in response to Rossiya RTR’s violations of the law were compatible with EU law.

The Baltic states respect freedom of the speech. In the “Freedom of the press 2020” ranking (by Reporters Without Borders) Estonia is on 14th place, Latvia on 22nd place, Lithuania on 28th place. Estonia belongs to the group of states where the situation is evaluated as “good”, the situation in Latvia and Lithuania is “fairly good”. Russia, however, holds in this ranking 149th position, with the situation of media freedom in the country described as “bad”.

Baltic states provide a broad choice of sources of information for its inhabitants, including information in the Russian language. I.e., Latvian Public Service Media offer a full-time radio programme as well as TV productions including daily news and analytics in Russian. The multimedia news platform has an editorially independent Russian language section rus.lsm.lv.

Out of approximately 385 television programmes registered by the Latvian media regulator 50 are available in Latvian, more than 200 – in Russian, approximately 200 – in English, 21 – in Ukrainian, 2 – in Belarusian etc. (the exact numbers change all the time). All of the top 5 most visited Latvian internet news platforms have Russian versions. There are 44 commercial and non-commercial radio programmes registered in Latvia, 17 of those broadcast in Russian.

See similar cases of disinformation: Latvia is persecuting Russian media; Violation of freedom of speech in Central and Eastern Europe supervised by the US; The Baltic States are persecuting the Russian media.


  • Reported in: Issue 231
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Russian, Lithuanian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Latvia
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Media, State oppression, Baltic states
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