Disinfo: Latvia is persecuting Russian media

Summary

In early December 2020, Latvian authorities detained seven Russian-speaking journalists. The reporters worked with the Russian media company “Rossiya Sevodnya”.

Rossiya Sevodnya is a state enterprise of the Russian Federation. Dmitriy Kiselev, a person from the sanctions list, is not the owner of the company.

Latvian authorities are trying to criminalise all contacts with Russia. That is, to bring a criminal case against any person who has professional contacts with Russia at any time.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States. Read more about the Russian language media in Latvia here.

The activities of Sputnik and Baltnews are also in the focus of the State Security Department of Lithuania. The public report “National Threats Assessment 2018”, prepared by the State Security Department of the Republic of Lithuania and Second Investigation Department under the Ministry of National Defence, states:

“Russian information policy in Lithuania is conducted through the Russia-funded internet portals sputniknews.lt and baltnews.lt. Their goal is to extend Russia’s influence within Lithuania’s information space, promote anti-western sentiments, and shape public opinion favourable to the Kremlin”.

Sputnik has also been convicted for violation of copyright. It stole material from the Lithuanian National Broadcasting service (LRT). Lithuania also implemented a temporary ban on Russian television channels due to a violation of the law. In 2018, the European Commission decided that that the Lithuanian regulator's decision to suspend the retransmission of a Russian language channel “RTR Planeta” for twelve months due to incitement to hatred, is compatible with EU law. In 2019, the European Court of Justice supported Lithuania in the case about the restriction of another Russian TV channel – “NTV Mir Lithuania's”

Background:

Sputnik was created in Russia by a presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. Sputnik is a regular source of pro-Kremlin disinformation. The Baltnews site tries to represent itself as an independent media but in 2017 an investigation showed that it is linked to the Kremlin’s global disinformation network. Baltnews is connected to the Rossiya Segodnya state-owned media company, which includes Sputnik News.

See similar cases of disinformation: Russian media are being discriminated in Baltic states; There are clear violations of the principles of freedom of speech in Estonia; Suppression of media freedom is norm in the Baltic states.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 227
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/01/2021
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: Latvia, Russia
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Media, Dmitry Kiselyov, Russophobia, Sanctions, Sputnik

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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