Latvia says it supports exiled Russian journalists but avoids assessing closure of TV Rain station

El primer ministro de Letonia, Krisjanis Karins. – llmars Znotins/Latvian Presidenc / DPA

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins has assured that while he supports Russian journalists in exile working within the country, they must respect the law, in line with the revocation of the license of the independent TV Rain channel for alleged violations of the media law.

«We support Russian journalists working in exile who are not loyal to the Russian authorities, but when working in Latvia, everyone must obey the law,» Karins said, although he acknowledged he was not familiar with the report issued Tuesday by the national media council (NEPLP).

However, Karins stressed that Latvia is a state governed by the rule of law, so both this media outlet and any other that may feel aggrieved in the future can «go to court» to settle any disputes.

Over the last few years, this channel has made a name for itself as a critic of President Vladimir Putin’s government, and more recently for its stance against the invasion of Ukraine.

Despite this background, NEPLP director Ivars Abolinis on Tuesday justified the cancellation of the broadcast because of an alleged threat to national security and public order, recalls the Baltic news portal Delfi.

According to the NEPLP, the closure would be motivated by some of the contents of the channel, which would have shown Crimea as part of the territory of Russia in a graphic and the alleged sympathies that a presenter would have shown towards the Russian Army, by describing it as «ours».

The channel has denied this and has received the support of the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which has criticized the measure, describing as «unfair» and «absurd» the accusations made by this Latvian media commission.

Expressions of solidarity have even come from one of the Kremlin’s fiercest and most recognized critics, Alexei Navalni, who has highlighted the «uncompromising work» of the network against the war initiated by Putin. «It has become a source of truth for millions of Russians,» he has emphasized.

The Meduza news portal – which also had to move its headquarters from Moscow to Riga, the Latvian capital, because of its critical reporting of the Russian government – has described the decision as «unfair, wrong and unreasonable».