An improvement in the situation with the Russian media in the Baltics should not be expected, the matter is heading towards a total cleansing of the information space from them. This was stated by the Deputy Representative of Russia to the OSCE Maxim Buyakevich.
According to Buyakevich, in the situation with BaltNews and Sputnik Latvia Riga does not answer on the merits. It is stated that the summons of journalists for interrogation are carried out in accordance with the law on the basis of initiated criminal cases, but there is no specifics. According to the deputy head of the post, the conclusion suggests itself that the cases are politically motivated.
“For our part, we declare that we do not expect an improvement in the situation in the Baltics, because it is clear where this is going – to a total cleanup of Russian-speaking media resources,” the diplomat said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
At the same time, he noted that Russia intends to seek a consistent public response from the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro to the facts of oppression of Russian media resources.
On April 14, the State Security Service of Latvia summoned five journalists who collaborate with the Russian Sputnik Latvia and the Russian-language news agency Baltnews for questioning, and they were asked not to disclose and not to leave the place. The names of the journalists were not disclosed.
In early December last year, several Russian-speaking journalists were also detained in Latvia. Among them are Andrei Yakovlev, who several years ago managed the editorial office of the Internet portal Baltnews.lv, Andrei Solopenko and Alla Berezovskaya, who collaborated with this media, photographer Sergei Melkonov and publicist Vladimir Linderman. Later, all the detainees were released on recognizance not to leave.
In January, Berezovskaya announced that a real persecution had been announced against workers in the Russian media in Latvia. Yakovlev, for his part, noted that the Latvian authorities are using repressive methods to restrict freedom of the media, cleaning up the information field, trying to remove an alternative opinion.
In total, from December to March, seven Latvian journalists collaborating with Russian media were searched in Riga. The official basis for criminal prosecution is violation of the sanctions imposed against the Russian Federation. The journalists collaborated with the Rossiya Segodnya news agency, whose head, Dmitry Kiselev, is under sanctions as an individual.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the actions of the Baltic countries against journalists working with the portals Baltnews and Sputnik are a violation of freedom of the media.