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Latvia bans Russian TV channels in wake of Ukraine invasion

European broadcasters condemn 'intimidation' of news crews in China: EBU
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Latvia on Thursday banned the three Russian TV channels still broadcasting in the country, saying they posed a “threat to national security” in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

A formerly Soviet-ruled Baltic state of 1.9 million people, which joined NATO and the EU in 2004, Latvia has a sizable ethnic Russian community, accounting for around a quarter of its population.

Latvia’s National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEMMC), slapped a five-year ban on Russian state broadcaster Rossiya RTR, a four-year ban on Rossiya 24, and a three-year ban on the TV Centre International(TVCI), according to a statement.

The media regulator also urged “all EU countries to use the evidence gathered by the NEMMC and to follow Latvia’s example by restricting the retransmission of these programmes”.

The decision, affecting the last three Russian channels still allowed to broadcast in Latvia, “is based on Latvian law and the EU Audiovisual Directive,” NEPLP leader Ivars Abolins told AFP.

“It has already taken effect and will be approved later by the European Commission,” he added.

It “isn’t even related to Russian propaganda, fake news and warmongering against Ukraine, these channels represent a threat to Latvia’s security and have been banned accordingly,” Abolins said, adding that 41 other Russia-related “propaganda channels” have been banned for the same reason during the past five years.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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