TALINN, Dec. 6 (AP) — Latvia has revoked the license of an independent Russian television channel in exile in the Baltic state, media authorities said Tuesday, for expressing support for the Russian military and severing Crimea as part of the reason. Incorporated into its Russian territory.
The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Committee’s decision was based on TV Rain’s recent violations and revoked its license on the grounds of threatening national security and public order.
The Baltic News Agency, the region’s main news agency, said the decision will come into effect on Thursday, when not only TV Rain’s broadcasts but also its YouTube shows will be blocked in Latvia.
TV Rain was earlier fined by Latvia’s media watchdog for failing to ensure proper translation of its broadcasts into Latvian, the Baltic state’s only official language.
On Friday, Latvia’s state security service began investigating statements made by TV Rain, suspecting it supports the ongoing war that Russia and its military are waging in Ukraine.
Latvia’s decision was sparked by a TV Rain show whose anchors invited Russian soldiers and their families to watch the show, share their stories with the channel, and promise to help.
The host apologized for not promising material aid to Russian troops on the front lines in Ukraine, but the channel quickly fired him and apologized.
The incident comes on top of earlier tensions with Latvian authorities, which condemned the channel, saying Moscow-annexed Crimea was part of Russia on the map and referring to the Russian military as “our army”. “.
Natalya Sindeyeva, owner of TV Rain, said in an interview that she has not yet decided on the next steps.
“I wasn’t prepared for that, and I’m sure they wouldn’t do that,” Sindeyeva told Meduza, an independent Russian news outlet also based in Latvia.
The ruling by the Latvian media watchdog can be appealed.
Since its creation in 2010, TV Rain has been Russia’s most visible independent station, criticizing Kremlin policies, offering airtime to government critics and covering opposition protests extensively.
In the past, it has faced official intimidation and pressure from Russian authorities.
In August 2021, it was labeled a “foreign agent,” a label that hinted at greater government scrutiny and carried strong derogatory connotations that might turn away potential viewers.
TV Rain suspended operations in Russia earlier this year after authorities allegedly blocked the channel’s broadcasts over its critical coverage of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The channel restarted broadcasting in the summer from Riga, the Latvian capital, where several other independent Russian outlets are also based. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)