The Latvian media regulator announced on Monday that it will ban the 80 Russian television channels that can still be received in the Baltic country, thus ending all broadcasts from Moscow.

A spokesman for the National Council for Mass Electronic Media (NEPLP) has confirmed that all Russia-based channels available through cable and digital services will be banned from June 9. The measure will not affect Latvian networks broadcasting in Russian or the US-funded Russian-language channel “Current Time”.

According to the president of the NEPLP, Ivars Abolins, quoted by local media, the ban is possible thanks to recent legal changes that allow the regulator to veto broadcasts of channels registered in countries that endanger the territorial integrity and independence of another country. .

This implies that, now, it is enough for a channel to be based in Russia to veto it, while the prohibitions previously decreed were justified by the fact that the channels in question glorified war and incited ethnic hatred.

Several dozen Russian channels in Latvia and other Baltic states had to stop broadcasting after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, although some outlets had already been temporarily banned in recent years.

The NEPLP has also been given the power to block websites considered a danger to Latvia’s national security, although the spokesman was unable to say whether the move would affect the websites of banned TV channels.

The Association of Latvian Journalists has criticized that the blocking of web pages prevents free access to information provided by the different parties to the conflict.

Most of the prohibited channels also broadcast their programming through their internet pages, so their audience can continue to access their content in this way; even in the event of a blockade there are technical means to visit them, such as the use of virtual private networks (VPN).

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