Latvia’s broadcast regulator suspended the permission to broadcast three Russian TV channels with immediate effect. Rossija RTR is banned for five years, Rossija 24 for four years, and TV Center International for three years. The chairman of the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Ivars Āboliņš, announced the bans. Normally, such bans only come into effect after the decision has been published in the official legal bulletin. However, the NEPLP said it had banned the channels immediately due to the invasion of Ukraine and what it called the dissemination of Russian pro-government propaganda. It said the decision was taken as the channels posed a threat to national security. Āboliņš said that over the past two years, Latvia had banned 41 Russian-related channels within the country. The ban was made before the decision of the European Commission and the European Council to block access to Russian state-owned media within the bloc.
(International press freedom groups including IPI have expressed concerns about bans against RT and Sputnik. Read our full statement here)