Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Latvia Becoming Russia As Rapidly Descends Freedom Of Speech Ladder

Posted by Info on 19/01/2011

Just a couple of years ago, Latvia boasted one of the highest freedom of the press ratings in all of Europe, being ranked 7th on the annual Reporters Without Borders index. But in 2010 Latvia fell almost 50 places.

Ilze Nagla, a Latvian TV reporter, has been interviewing politicians for socially important stories for 20 years. One of those interviews got her into serious trouble. After Ilze broke the news on a security breach in Latvia’s state revenue body, police came to search her apartment.
“With force they opened my door and went inside. They told me they had a search warrant. Once they acquired information from my computer, they also acquired information on my sources of information, which by law I am allowed to protect. So the problem was for me as a journalist that I failed to protect my information sources.”

Experts say that it is by far not the only one.

Sergey Kruk, a professor at Riga University, recalls another incident of the same nature: “A scholar from the Ventspils Higher School of Economy was charged by the secret police – and he was actually arrested for two days – for disseminating an alternative opinion on the state of the local currency. He said that the devaluation of the Lat was imminent. We are losing the last support for alternative information among the press outlets in this country.”

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