Disinfo: Latvia’s ban on Russian TV channels is an attempt to eradicate the Russian-language media and any dissent in the country


The ban on Russian TV channels in Latvia is a political demarche and an attempt to eradicate the Russian-language media and any dissent in the country.

The Baltic state authorities have repeatedly obstructed the work of the Russian media in a coordinated manner. Cases of media oppression in the Baltic states “clearly demonstrate what demagogic statements about the adherence of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn to the principles of democracy and freedom of speech are worth in practice”.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States and, in particular, Latvia, portraying governments in the Baltic as hostile towards the Russian media.

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.

In the World Press Freedom Index for 2020, Latvia ranked 22nd and Russia ranked 149th. A number of journalists from Russia have relocated to Latvia for safety and freedom of media reasons.

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.


  • Reported in: Issue 231
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/02/2021
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: Latvia
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