In 12 years, Latvia has not found a way to address the Russian-speaking part of society

According to media experts, we can’t even imagine the consequences that propaganda in the aggressor countries will have on the minds of the people of Latvia before and now during the war.

2010 – Digital television is introduced in Latvia. If until then the local channels could be seen with conventional antennas, then when decoding, decoders had to be purchased. In many parts of the Russian-Belarusian border, locals switched entirely to watching television in neighboring countries. Because you didn’t have to pay for them. Local governments are urging the Saeima and government to find 2 million to distribute decoders to these viewers for free.

Moscow is also introducing digital channels. They are offered free of charge. Tricolor equipment, which can receive Russian satellites, is gaining rapid popularity not only on the border, but throughout Latvia. Authorities and politicians continue to promise that the media issue is important and needs to be considered. The idea of ​​creating a single TV channel in Russian is born. The idea also stays on paper. Estonians are doing this and are now proud that a lot of people watch public television in Russian.

2020 – Covid-19 begins. The state is trying to counter the lies of its vaccine opponents with clumsy advertising campaigns. When there are so many pous that is enough for everyone, it turns out that there is no place to reach Russian-speakers about the importance of vaccinating.

February 24, 2022 – Russia attacks Ukraine. The National Electronic Media Council is blocking Russian propaganda channels. And again, politicians are beginning to discuss that we have not been able to reach the minds of Russian speakers in Latvia during these 12 years.

Maris Kucinskis

Head of the Saeima National Security Commission (ZZS)

“It comes out on my part as a justification. The war in Ukraine sheds light on what should have been done, but now we need a strong policy on how to do it.”

Rihards Bambals

Head of the Strategic Communication Coordination Department of the State Chancellery

Rihards Bambals: “If we look at it, the trust in the state institutions, the trust in the media and the information that both the media and the institutions about the war are giving now are very low.” Among Russian-speakers, 21% only trust the communication of state institutions, 19% only the media. ”

Than personal: “What conclusions can be drawn from this?”

Rihards Bambals: “We need to strengthen the communication capacity of our own state institutions, but they cannot be vacuumed. Media support measures need to be developed, including not only support for the public social media, but also potentially for the commercial media. We had to think about creating content in Russian and we had to do it yesterday. ”

The association Baltic Media Center of Excellence, attracting money from various foreign funds, helped to create the Russian writing portal “Chayka” in Daugavpils, was present in the creation of the public media internet platform The money for that too came mainly from abroad.

An extensive meeting was held this week with all those in charge to think about what to do. Conclusion – the parties are unable to agree on joint action and there is still no clear plan.

Gunta Sloga

Executive Director of the Baltic Media Center of Excellence

“We have been talking for years. We are talking about protecting the information space, strengthening the media in general, and combating misinformation and media literacy. But when we look at very specific steps, they are very fragmentary or not at all due to various internal disagreements. Only very, very long discussed. And it is one of the most striking examples of supporting or not supporting Russian-language content. And when there is this situation, when an independent editor of the Daugavpils portal writes a public letter to politicians: “Do you understand that there are a lot of people living here who will take to the streets to greet Russian tanks”, then maybe someone is starting to think of something. But again, we see that there is so much thinking in a situation where there is war in the information space as well. But we sit thinking and discussing. ”

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