RIGA - The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has decided to revoke the broadcasting license for Russian independent channel TV Rain (Dodzhd).
NEPLP chairman Ivars Abolins told LETA that the decision to revoke the license has been made in relation to threat to the national security and public order.
The decision has been based on a number of violations committed in the recent period - failure to ensure Latvian language translation, including Crimea in the map of Russia, calling the Russian armed forces "our army", and voicing possible support to the Russian army. NEPLP also assessed the State Security Service report on the channel, but Abolins did not reveal information included in the report.
"Assessing the number of violations, NEPLP is confident that TV Rain administration is not aware of the essence and gravity of these violations, therefore they may not operate in the territory of Latvia," said Abolins.
The decision will come into force on Thursday night, when TV Rain should stop broadcasts in Latvia.
As TV Rain is broadcasting not only on TV, but also on Youtube platform, NEPLP will ask to geoblock TV Rain channel on Youtube.
"This decision proves that Latvia is a democratic country, open for mass media because Latvia admitted a large number of Russian media who are free to work here. However, TV Rain violated the law," said Aboltins.
NEPLP decision can be appealed.
TV Rain already appealed the NEPLP decision on a fine for failure to ensure translation in the official language on its channel.
TV Rain announced on Twitter that the TV channel will continue broadcasts on Youtube and underscored that they believe that the accusations against them are unfair and absurd.
TV Rain head Anna Mongait said on Telegram that the TV channel will continue its activities on Youtube, even though it will lose a part of its audience. She said that the channel is able to survive these epic difficulties.
As reported, NEPLP opened an administrative offense case against TV Rain for airing appeals to help the Russian army.
The regulator opened the probe after the appeal to provide information on the conscripted Russian soldiers' service conditions at the frontline was made on the program "Zdes i Seychas" ("Here and Now). The host of the TV program voiced hope that the TV channel had managed to help several soldiers, for instance, by providing "equipment or basic amenities at the frontline".
TV Rain editor-in-chief Tikhon Dzyadko explained on Twitter that the TV channel is not involved in providing assistance to the Russian army and that the appeal made by the program's host had been misinterpreted. The actual intention, according to Dzyadko, was to gather information on crimes of Russian state authorities and army, not to provide assistance to the Russian military.
Since the TV host's phrasing of the appeal was misinterpreted, Dzyadko promised to remove it from the program when it is repeatedly shown on TV Rain.
Journalist Ekaterina Kotrikadze said on "Zdes i Seychas" Friday that Dozhd has decided to fire TV host Aleksey Korostelyov who on Thursday's program spoke about supporting the Russian army.
It has also been reported that the National Electronic Mass Media Council on Friday fineTV Rain with EUR 10,000.
TV Rain, which is currently based in Riga, has been penalized for including Crimea in the map of Russia and calling the Russian armed forces "our army".
TV Rain, which after Russia's invasion had temporarily suspended operations, relocated to Latvia and was issued a Latvian broadcasting license.