Recurring disinformation narrative about the Russophobic West, painting Western governments as hostile toward "alternative voices" in the media, particularly Russian ones. Relevant disinformation claims can be found here, here and here.
This claim tries to portray EU sanctions on Russia, the result of its illegal actions in Ukraine, as unfair persecution against Sputnik and its employees, and against media freedom in general. In Latvia as well as in Lithuania and Estonia, Sputnik and RT are being accused of spreading disinformation, violating copyrights and acting as propaganda instruments. Different parties based their accusations on publicly available results of investigations conducted by relevant authorities and regulatory bodies as follows.
Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, referring to Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine that foresees the freezing of the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya, who is on the sanction list of the Council of the European Union. He has full control over RT's (formerly known as Russia Today) TV programmes, according to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog. For further details, read NEPLP's full position here and also see the Insider.
The accusation of Russophobia from the political elites of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia is baseless. The Baltic states have security concerns, linked to cases of Russian aggression against neighbouring countries, namely the illegal annexation of Crimea and war in Ukraine. In 2018, a NATO summit declaration also stated that:
"Russia’s aggressive actions, including the threat and use of force to attain political goals, challenge the Alliance and are undermining Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based international order."
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.