Journalists in Latvia targeted by the Secret Service
On December 3, the Latvian State Security Service (Valsts drošības dienests) detained 7 journalists, searching their apartments and seizing materials from their houses.
The 7 journalists, working for BaltNews and belonging to the Russian-speaking minority community in Latvia, were interrogated and their news agency’s Facebook page was blocked. All 7 were declared suspected of violating policies relating to EU sanctions against Russia, a charge which carries a four year prison sentence.
Approximately 40% of the population of Latvia is Russian-speaking. However in recent years, Russian-language media in Latvia has been under attack. Earlier this year, a Russian-language Latvian TV channel was completely shut down, and the Latvian Parliament excluded many channels broadcasting in Russian from local cable tv packages under the auspices of stopping “Russian state propaganda”.
Famous Latvian journalist Alla Berezovskaja recently commented “How can a musician be blamed for playing? A poet for writing poems? Journalist for writing news and analysis? How it can happen in democratic Latvia in the 21st century?”
Our member party, the Latvian Russian Union is calling on the international community to ask Latvian authorities to cease the campaign of intimidation against Russian-language media and to instead enter into constructive dialogue.
EFA believes in a truly diverse European Union, in which all languages are considered equal.