RIGA - The National Electronic Mass Media Council has banned broadcasts of Russian TV channels Rossiya RTR and Rossiya 24 in Lavia, as the council's chairman Ivars Abolins told Latvian Television Thursday morning.
Broadcasts of Rossiya RTR have been banned for five years, Rossiya 24 for four years, and another Russian TV channel, TV Centr International - for three years.
The Electronic Mass Media Council took the decision over the treat to national security posed by these TV channels, said Abolins. The decision was taken for the first time in the history of the European Union, using a provision in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive that allows derogations from the lengthy official restriction procedure in emergency situations. The council's decision will come into force with immediate effect, said Abolins.
"We are calling on all EU member countries to use the evidence we have collected, follow our example and ban these three channels in the entire territory of the EU. In the last several years, we have closed 41 programs associated with Russia. Unfortunately, other European countries have not done the same," said Abolins.
The Electronic Mass Media Council is now planning to turn to other EU media watchdogs, believing that Europe must be united at this time and other countries should do what Latvia has done, said Abolins.
President Egils Levits earlier called for a ban on all Russian propaganda TV channels in Latvia.
"Incitement to hatred against Ukraine and disinformation are impermissible in Latvia's information environment," the Latvian president said on Twitter.
Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) on Tuesday called for an end to the broadcasting of Russian propaganda channels in Latvia, according to the minister's post on Twitter.
He noted that, taking into account the promotion of ethnic hatred and the justification of war, which can be seen on these channels on a daily basis, Latvian authorities would have grounds to evaluate what is being shown on these channels stop their retransmission.