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Latvian Association of Journalists defends TV Rain

The Latvian Association of Journalists came to the defense of TV Rain, whose broadcast license Latvian authorities revoked earlier this week.

In a statement, the Association said that authorities could “achieve a better result” by letting the network keep its license, while keeping a close eye on what it broadcasts.

The statement’s authors say there is no doubt that TV Rain violated the terms of its license. However, they state that the network had little experience working in Latvia, and that it “has not yet developed an understanding public opinion and its significance for a democratic society.” This “doesn’t excuse the station’s creators, but it goes some what toward explaining what happened,” the statement continues.

TV Rain made a serious mistake in not understanding that Latvia is unequivocally on the side of Ukraine, and that any humanitarian calls to support soldiers drafted into the Russian army are unacceptable here. But by revoking the network’s license, we’re driving them back to the “Russian world,” defined by the Kremlin.

The authors of document believe that regulatory authorities and Latvian journalists should work with their Russian colleagues to help them “understand the principles of Latvian and European values, media independence, and rights and obligations.”

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On December 6, Latvia’s Electronic Mass Media Council revoked TV Rain’s broadcasting license “in connection with the threat to national security and the public order.” Latvian authorities had made several earlier complaints about TV Rain: the network aired a map which showed Crimea as part of Russia; used the phrase “our army” about Russian troops; and finally, host Alexey Korostelev said live on air that the network “was able to help” Russian soldiers.

Meduza released a statement on the incident, expressing solidarity with the TV Rain team. More than 100 journalists and editorial offices have signed the statement.

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