President refuses to promulgate new electronic communications law, citing non-compliance with EU law

  • 2022-06-10
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - President Egils Levits has returned the new electronic communications law to the Saeima for a repeated review, pointing to some provisions' non-compliance with the European Union's (EU) laws and judgements of the European Court of Law, according to an announcement published in the official gazette Latvijas Vestnesis.

The president says in the announcement that while working on the new law, lawmakers left several provisions of the existing law unchanged, without correcting identified legal inconsistencies and contradictions and hearing the opinion of competent authorities. 

The president warns that legal loopholes left in the new electronic communications law would make violations of Article 96 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy, highly possible, as it would allow for an unnecessary retention of data on all users of electronic communications and all electronic communication services for similar periods of time. 

"In Latvia, as a democratic and law-governed country, residents must not be held in suspicion and "preventively monitored" just because the responsible authority is unable work out a data retention and saving regulation that would respect legitimate interests of the state and society and each person's rights to the protection of their data," the president said. 

The new electronic communications law, which the Saeima passed in the final reading on June 2, expands the National Electronic Mass Media Council's (NEPLP) powers to limit access to unregistered programs. The new law was necessary to fully transpose the provisions of the European Electronic Communications Code.