RIGA - The National Electronic Mass Media Council has been awarded the right to shut down websites that pose threat to national security and to ensure protection from the Kremlin's hybrid information operations, as Krisjanis Feldmans (Conservatives), chairman of Saeima Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee that prepared the relevant amendments, told LETA.
When asked if this could lead to unjustified censorship, for instance, of websites that deal with internal security matters in Latvia, Feldmans emphasized that the websites affected could contest the Electronic Mass Media Council's decisions in court.
If a court does overturn the Electronic Mass Media Council's decision, this could have a major impact on the council's image and raise questions about its competence, added Feldmans.
During the discussions on the amendments, Saeima Economic Committee emphasized that the Electronic Mass Media Council would take decisions on shutting down websites in consultation with the State Security Service.
As a result, limiting Russia's propaganda at this time is sufficiently democratic, and the parties affected may contest the Electronic Mass Media Council's decisions in court, said Feldmans.
He added that this solution was also supported by defense and national security experts. Disseminating propaganda is Russia's hybrid war operation, which aims to lower morale and incite civil unrest in other countries.
The Saeima committee eventually decided to grant the right to take down websites to the Electronic Mass Media Council, which Feldmans considers a politically neutral authority.
As reported, the National Electronic Mass Media Council has blocked 71 Internet resources in connection with threats to national security, the chairman of the council Ivars Abolins told LETA last week.