The mayor of Riga nil Ushakov criticized the decision of the authorities of the country for six months to ban the broadcast of the TV channel “Russia – RTR”, as well as to block the portal Agency Sputnik in the lv area.
“The closure of the Latvian national domain zone of the Russian Internet portal sputniknews.lv publishing information in Russian and Latvian languages, and to suspend for six months the activities of the TV channel Russia–RTR are completely idiotic decisions,” he said in an interview with local newspaper “to Conduct Today” has taken place.
“This is who you need to be, to be sure, that in today’s world at the modern level of technology development it is possible to deal with the Internet portal, forbidding him to use the domain lv?” — said Ushakov. He noted that even after blocking the portal even five minutes has not stopped its work. “He just changed address and was sputniknewslv.com. And that’s all! Moreover, as a result of this campaign, the portal was made a great advertisement, and I guess a number of readers had increased significantly. I repeat: it is absolute idiocy to think that in our time you can adjust the portals that you can access anywhere with any domain,” — said Ushakov.
Commenting on the ban on rebroadcasting “Russia–RTR”, the mayor of Riga asked the question: “Someone knows that today, TV channels available not only in cable television networks, but also on the Internet”. In his view such bans “look policy, not even the 20th, and the 19th century”. “This is when Emperor Nicholas I the censors opened the envelope, read the letter, took from them certain words, then he sealed the envelope and sent to the addressee. But in the twenty-first century, such an attitude looks at least strange,” — said Ushakov, said that he is talking about the technical part.
From a policy perspective, he called the decision a disgrace for Latvia. “This is how you need to respect their own country, to think that one of the thousands or tens of thousands of portals (taking into account all languages including English, German, and Swahili), which publishes information on Latvia, threatens the security of the state! Or that the security of the state is threatened by one of dozens of TV channels broadcasting in the Russian language and sometimes including reporting something about Latvia,” — said Ushakov.
The mayor of Riga said that when in Latvia was temporarily prohibited broadcasting “Russia–RTR”, he was in a meeting at the U.S. state Department. There, in his words, “all spoke in chorus that the closure of TV channels is absolutely unacceptable”. “So these decisions — firstly, shame, and secondly, stupidity, and thirdly, they cause a lot of issues from the point of view of observance of democratic standards in one of the countries of the European Union”, — concluded the mayor of Riga.
About locking of the Agency’s website Sputnik in Latvia became known in late March. In an official letter to the domain Registrar with reference to the request of the Latvian foreign Ministry, stated that “registration of a domain name sputniknews.lv is a violation of the terms of the resolution of the Council of the EU concerning restrictive measures in connection with the threat to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. The Russian foreign Ministry the decision was called “blatant censorship”.
Broadcast “RTR-Russia” was limited to six months by decision of the National Council for electronic media. As told bi-Bi-si the Minister of Ayia Dylewska, the channel has twice been limited in 2014. “Last time they didn’t comply with the legislation of Latvia, now the EU legislation. Serious violations: the calls for war and incitement to hatred,” Dylewska said.