Provision of access to programmes not included in the list of audio and audio-visual programmes retransmitted in Latvia now banned

(09.06.2022.)

On Thursday, 9 June, the Saeima adopted in the second and final reading amendments to the Electronic Mass Media Law in order to strengthen the Latvian information space and ensure that the public does not have access to programmes that are not included in the list of audio and audio-visual programmes retransmitted in Latvia.

The amendments to the Law stipulate a ban on business activity that provides access to audio and audio-visual programmes not included in the list of audio and audio-visual programmes retransmitted in Latvia.

Jānis Butāns, Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee, which is responsible for the advancement of the Draft Law, had previously stated: “Content calling for war, spreading disinformation, and threatening our national security is still available in the Latvian information space. It may create misconceptions about global events, as well as have a negative effect on the co-existence of the various groups in our society.” Referring to the explanatory note to the Draft Law, the Chair of the Committee underscored that such economic activity also threatens the operation of honest television service providers, including by affecting their competitiveness, as well as promotes the development of shadow economy.

Upon identifying this type of business activity, the State Police shall have the right to punish the perpetrator in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Law.

The amendments to the Law also establish administrative liability for public circulation of the mentioned programmes, namely, any activity that provides access to the programme or its recordings.

Violations of the ban on circulation of the programmes by natural entities will be subject to a warning or a penalty in the amount of up to 140 monetary units, but up to 2800 monetary units for legal entities. One monetary unit is five euros.

According to the explanatory note to the Draft Law, programmes banned in Latvia are frequently circulated to attract more customers (in, for instance, cafés and hotels). The established monetary penalty will motivate persons to comply with the programme circulation regulations. It is also highlighted in the explanatory note that, upon assessing the specific circumstances, the State Police may also issue a warning.

The Law will enter into force on the day following its promulgation.

 

Saeima Press Service

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