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RIGA, April 16. /ITAR-TASS/. Latvian public organizations’ council, which incorporates over 70 of the country’s social institutions, has urged the broadcasting authorities to put Russia’s RTR television channel back on air. The RTR is under a three-month rebroadcasting ban in Latvia.
The council addressed a number of the country’s high officials, including President Andris Berzins, Constitutional Court chairperson Aija Branta, chairman of Latvian Journalists’ Union Juris Paiders, chairman of the parliamentary Social Cohesion Committee, Ilmars Latkovskis, and Latvian human rights ombudsman Juris Jansons. The embassies of Germany, France, Great Britain and the USA in Latvia received the same message as well.
The Council's members were asking for assistance in order to prevent a conflict and a split in civil society. They claimed that the Latvian broadcasting authority National Electronic Media Council NEPLP banned RTR on April 7.
“This decision has blanked the screens of over half a million Latvian citizens. Such action is violating the freedom of expression, which ought to be guaranteed by the country’s constitution and the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, ratified in the country in May 1998”, the document said.
The organizations’ council officials said that being Latvia’s permanent residents, they considered such bans to be a direct violation of their access to information and the freedom of choice.
“In the light of the alarming situation in today’s world, we believe that such careless steps could easily provoke ethnic discord and separatist movements in our country as well. We are strongly against this”, they said in the message.