Expression

Freedom of expression and a free press are constitutionally protected in Latvia. Nevertheless, a lack of transparency on media ownership causes suspicion and is linked to allegations of biased reporting. Russia’s private and public media has strong influence in Latvia, and in 2014, Russian station Rossiya RTR was temporarily suspended for justifying Crimea’s annexation. The Internet is largely free to access, with no hindrances imposed by the state, and is characterised by lively debates on news websites. The media council that supervises electronic media is sometimes seen as not entirely free from political influence because it is elected by parliament. The brutal attack on a journalist in 2012 also raised press freedoms concerns, as did the 2010 case of journalist Aleksandrs Gilmans. Gilmans was arraigned before the court because of a book in which he made comparisons between Latvia and the Nazi regime. Journalists accused the government of using the legal system to discourage him from continuing his reporting work.