EU state working to kick out Russian TV channel – deputy PM
Latvia has run out of patience with TV Dozhd, the Baltic country’s defense minister and deputy Prime Minister said on Friday, just hours after the Riga-based Russian outlet tried to appease its hosts by firing a journalst it said misspoke on air.
Earlier on Friday, Latvia’s media regulator NEPLP announced that it had fined TV Dozhd €10,000 ($10,538) for showing a map with Crimea marked as part of Russia – contrary to the claims of Kiev and Riga – and for calling Russian troops “our army,” he said.
NEPLP head Ivars Abolins did not specify when the violations happened, but noted that they amounted to a second “serious breach” by the channel, and that a third strike may result in Dozhd losing their license.
TV Dozhd (Rain) had halted operations in Moscow at the beginning of March and set up shop in Riga in mid-June. The outlet has been highly critical of the Russian government and the conflict in Ukraine in particular. When one of their journalists urged the audience to share stories about the problems of Russians called to arms, the Latvians and Ukrainians took it as support for “aggressors.”
“We hope that we have helped many service members, including, for example, with equipment and basic comforts on the frontline,” Aleksey Korostelyov said on air on Thursday.
Latvia’s State Security Service (VDD) announced on Friday that it “started to examine” Korostelyov’s words as they “raise suspicion about the TV channel providing assistance to the soldiers of Russia’s occupying forces.” The agency reminded participants that providing such help is subject to criminal liability under the country’s laws. VDD also insisted that “activity of Russia’s media representatives in Latvia is related to risks to the security of Latvia’s information space.”
Dozhd Editor-in-Chief Tikhon Dzyadko first said the journalist really meant to solicit “personal accounts about crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine and violations during the criminal and senseless mobilization in the Russian Federation.” News editor Ekaterina Kotrikadze later announced Korostelyov had been fired, apologized to the audience and said this was “the only right and possible option.”
None of that appears to have helped calm the outraged Latvian – or Ukrainian – public, which continued to insist the channel was supporting Russia.
Pabriks himself agreed with one anime-avatar Twitter critic, saying there was “nothing Liberal” about Dozhd, “just blank imperialism.”