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Independence of NRAs: Chair of Latvian Broadcasting regulator dismissed

posted on 09 July, 2015   (public)

Independence of NRAs: Chair of Latvian Broadcasting regulator dismissed

The Saeima, the Parliament of Latvia, in an extraordinary session held on 8 July 2015 voted to dismiss Mr Ainārs Dimants, Chairperson of the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), the independent broadcasting regulator in Latvia. The motion was initially submitted against all four members of the NEPLP, but the vote to dismiss eventually took place only against the Chairman of the Council. The other three Board members, Aija Dulevska, Dainis Mjartāns and Ivars Zviedris remain in their posts.

On 30 June 2015, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, had called for the respect of the media regulator’s independence in Latvia, following a letter from Members of Parliament asking the Saeima to dismiss four members of the NEPLP, who were considered no longer suitable to hold their positions because of the alleged “loss of their good reputation.” On this occasion, Mijatović had "urged the members of the Latvian Parliament to carefully examine this proposal as the independence of national media regulators is a basic pre-condition for preserving and facilitating free media and free expression” .

The Latvian Journalism Association (Latvijas Žurnālistu asociācija) considers that there were no grounds for the motion of the Saeima and that with this dismissal Parliament has disregarded the principle of the independence of the regulator as emphasised in Council of Europe Recommendation Rec(2000)23 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the independence and functions of regulatory authorities for the broadcasting sector and Recommendation no. R (96) 10 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the guarantee of the independence of public service broadcasting.The LJA also points out that the decision is likely to raise the suspicion that Mr. Dimants was dismissed because the members of the Parliament were dissatisfied with the content of the programmes of the public broadcaster.

Further information:

Source: NEPLP/OSCE-FOM/LŽA

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