On Wednesday, 8thof May, after consulting the responsible officials on the protection of the Latvian information space, Jānis Bordāns, the Member of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, will encourage the release of Dace Ķezbere, the Chairperson of the National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP).
Jānis Bordāns, the Minister of Justice: “Today, when discussing the situation with representatives of the security services, I once again made sure of how important is the role played by the media supervisor under conditions of hybrid war we face nowadays. Rather, how insignificant is the role played currently by the media supervisor (NEPLP) in Latvia. Instead of fighting a direct threat, this week the channel “RTR Rossia” has returned to our television broadcast. Instead of addressing hate speeches coming from the East, the NEPLP is targeting local journalists. The head of the NEPLP does not see anything reprehensible in the fact that the members of the Council under her leadership receive a rather decent funding through a newly founded association during the pre-election period. Most importantly, the NEPLP confirms its incompetence or harmfulness through its actions in choosing the Latvian Television management and amending the Articles of Association. Honestly, finding the seriousness of the situation after hearing about the types of threats today, I have reached the top of my patience!”
I will invite the lawyers of the Ministry of Justice and the Legal Commission of the Saeima to prepare the relevant draft decision. I will submit it to a meeting of cooperation between the parties forming the government with the aim of directing it to the Parliament for adoption, emphasizes J. Bordāns.
The Minister of Justice also stresses the need together with the legislator to look for ways to reform the institutional model of monitoring the NEPLP and the media environment, in particular the public media management. “The justification for the protection of the information space and monitoring of the media environment was given to me by the vision of one of the most professional expert in hybrid security and media awareness in Latvia, political scientist Andis Kudors, who considers that democracy needs strong and independent media in order to be complete and able to defend itself,” emphasized J. Bordāns.
“National identity should be promoted by effective protection of the Latvian information space, strengthening the media environment and restricting Russian disinformation channels,” emphasizes J. Bordāns. At the same time he expresses a misunderstanding of the inability of the company, in which the state owns 51% of the shares, namely, Lattelecom, to offer its customers the option to choose not to include the Kremlin channels in their television channel package. The Minister of Justice will organize a meeting with the Minister of Economy Ralfs Nemiro already in the nearest future.
As the participants of the discussion admitted, this is one of the first joint meetings of security services of this type in recent times, confirming readiness to cooperate and coordinate actions in strengthening the Latvian information space. “We have to be proactive,”J. Bordāns admitted. “The Ministry of Justice is ready to take responsibility and engage in development of the Latvian information space protection policy.”
The Minister of Justice initiated the discussion participated by Jānis Maizītis, the Director of the Constitution Protection Bureau, Normunds Mežviets, the Head of the Latvian State Security Service, Jānis Sārts, the representative of the Military Intelligence and Security Service, the Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence ("StratCom"), Jānis Siksnis, the Executive Director of the Baltic Centre for Media Excellence, Zane Vāgnere, the Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Aiga Grišāne, the Head of the Media Policy Department, Mārtiņš Kaprāns, researcher at the University of Latvia, non-staff counsellor of the Minister of Culture, Guntis Ščerbinskis, the Chief Editor of the LV portal, and Juris Jurašs, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Justice.