MOSCOW, 8 Feb – RIA Novosti. The ban on the rebroadcast of the Russia-RTR channel in Latvia is a political demarche that grossly violates Riga's international obligations, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
On Monday, the National Council for Electronic Media of Latvia banned the retransmission of the Russia-RTR TV channel in the country for a year. Earlier, the Latvian cable operator Tet announced that it would stop rebroadcasting the largest Russian TV channels – PBK (a repeater of Channel One programs in the Baltic countries), NTV Mir, Ren TV Baltiya, Kinokomediya and Kinomix. The rebroadcast will stop on February 1. Instead of the listed channels, viewers will be offered others, the company announced that it is also continuing to search for channels that can be added to the package.
Zakharova noted that such actions of the Latvian government grossly contradict the principles of freedom of speech and pluralism of opinions.
She recalled that the VGTRK TV channels have been subjected to restrictive measures in Latvia for several years under various far-fetched pretexts.
“The current story is no exception … We see in the banning of Russian channels Riga's stubborn desire at all costs to eradicate the Russian and Russian-language media, the Russian language, as well as any dissent from the national information space. Latvia once again neglects the rights of the Russian-speaking population of the country, ignoring its obligations in the field of ensuring human rights and thus violating the fundamental principles of a democratic and civil society, “Zakharova said.
She also called the claims made against VGTRK biased.
The “60 Minutes” TV presenter is charged with “incitement to hatred” and “slander”, despite the fact that these are statements made during the discussion program, for which harsh statements are a characteristic phenomenon. Sharp rhetoric is an inevitable element of a full and democratic a dialogue in which opposing points of view are presented, “Zakharova noted.
At the same time, she stressed that the Latvian media regulator ignores similar content distributed by Western media in the country.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman called on international organizations and human rights defenders to respond to the repressive policies of the country's authorities.
The authorities of the Baltic countries have repeatedly restricted the work of the Russian media. The Foreign Ministry announced clear signs of a coordinated line of these states. Cases of harassment of the media, the Russian ministry noted, “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.”