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20 Jul, 2020 16:58

International Broadcasting Association berates Latvia & Lithuania for ‘political decision’ to ban RT

International Broadcasting Association berates Latvia & Lithuania for ‘political decision’ to ban RT

Latvia and Lithuania should “reverse without delay” their bans of tv network RT, a UK-based trade group said, adding that the decisions appeared to be political in nature, are based on an error and failed to stick to due process.

Media regulators in the two Baltic nations have recently banned RT from broadcasting, claiming that this was done to enforce EU sanctions. The decisions were criticized by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB), a UK-based industry body, which counts among its members the UK’s BBC Global News, Japan’s NHK World Service, Canada’s CBC, as well as RT itself.

In letters sent to Latvian and Lithuanian officials, AIB protested “in the strongest terms” what it perceived as “political decisions” to ban RT “that have no regulatory legitimacy.”

RT was ousted from Latvia and Lithuania after their state regulators mistakenly claimed that Dmitry Kiselyov, a Russian media official who has been under personal EU sanctions since 2014, was heading the channel. Kiselyov heads a different Russian outlet that has no relation to RT, a fact that even a cursory investigation can reveal.

The justification for the bans stems from “misinterpretation” of ownership of RT by authorities in the two countries, AIB pointed out. The fact that RT was not given a chance to make its case before media regulators in Latvia and Lithuania is “an extraordinary omission” for government agencies operating in Western democracies, it added.

Also on rt.com Shambles: Latvia bans RT, saying it’s ‘controlled’ by EU-sanctioned journalist… who heads DIFFERENT outlet with similar name

“A free and open media is an essential part of any democratic and open society, even encompassing voices with which one does not agree,” the letters said. Latvia and Lithuania should treat all channels “as is right and proper for a nation that publicly supports an open and free media.”

The AIB also notified the embassies of Latvia and Lithuania in London about how it felt about the bans, asking their respective governments to reinstate RT.

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