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Illegal TV and website usage in Latvia declines / Article

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This year, the National Council for Electronic Mass Media (NEPLP) banned a total of 132 television programs, most of them because of state-threatening content. Many websites have also been blocked.

NEPLP Vice-President Aurēlija Ieva Druviete said: “These are weapons during an information war aimed at hurting Latvian democracy and making it bleed. So the NEPLP is fighting it. During the year , a total of 132 TV channels were banned, of which 112 were shut down due to broadcasting content threatening national security.

“If the channel is banned due to content violations, as we have seven channels, the ban period is 1-5 years. sanctions are not Third, if the channel is restricted due to the fact that the country of jurisdiction or the country where the channel is formed infringes the territorial integrity of another country, such as Russia at present, these channels cannot return to Latvia until Ukraine is once again a united country and Crimea and other occupied territories are not returned to Ukraine.”

The NEPLP has also shut down 122 websites and further decisions are expected.

Since the start of the Ukrainian war, the state police have focused more on monitoring users of illegal content. Between January and September, police launched 28 administrative misconduct cases over the use of illegal systems. 292 illegal systems were removed in the context of criminal proceedings. Five criminal cases have been launched, said the representative of the State Police Office for the Prevention of Economic Crimes, Vitālijs Polovinskis.

“Currently, the state police can administratively sanction users using equipment, mainly from Russia, who watch TV channels on the banned list. Of course, we try to fight it. I think it’s been successful. At this moment he [the use of illegal systems] is not as simple as it was five years ago,” said Polovinskis.

The police do not organize special control raids. It has been observed that these services are mostly used by residents of private homes, and this is the case across the country.

The survey also shows that citizens’ interest in illegal content is decreasing. The NEPLP, in collaboration with “Latvijas Fakti”, conducted a study this summer on media usage habits as well as changes following the closure of television channels.

NEPLP spokeswoman Druviete commented: “In total, only 8% of the population who used these channels in the past and 14% of the minority population tried to find ways to continue using these Russian media. blocked, including via VPN and YouTube. and satellite television and Internet services. A year ago, a study showed that there was a general tendency in Latvia to use illegal digital content. At the time, the results of the study showed that a fifth, or 20%, used illegal content.

Amendments are currently being made to the law, which aims to extend the right of the NEPLP to monitor illegal content – ​​films, series, digital books and other resources.

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