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LEGAL ACTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LATVIA
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(Cabinet
Order No. 667
Adopted 8 November 2016)

Mass Media Policy Guidelines of Latvia
2016-2020

Riga, 2016

Table of Contents

Abbreviations Used

1. Summary of the Guidelines

2. Policy Objective and Action Directions

3. Spatial Perspective of the Planned Policy

4. Policy Results and Performance-based Indicators

5. Action Directions and Tasks

6. Impact on State and Local Government Budgets

7. Link-up of the Guidelines with Policy Planning Documents and Legal Acts

Abbreviations Used

CC - Competition Council

EBU - European Broadcasting Union

ER - Enterprise Register

ERDF - European Regional Development Fund

EU - European Union

GDP - Gross domestic product

LABO - Latvian Association of Broadcasting Organisations

LAJ - Latvian Association of Journalists

LALC - Latvian Association of Large Cities

LALRG - Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments

LPPA - Latvian Press Publishers Association

LR - Latvian Radio

LTV - Latvian Television

LUJ - Latvian Union of Journalists

MoC - Ministry of Culture

MoEPRD - Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development

MoES - Ministry of Education and Science

MoF - Ministry of Finance

MoFA - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MoI - Ministry of the Interior

MoJ - Ministry of Justice

MoT - Ministry of Transport

MoW - Ministry of Welfare

NCE - National Centre for Education

NEMMC - National Electronic Mass Media Council

NGO - Non-governmental organisation

NLL - National Library of Latvia

UN - United Nations Organization

UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

UNESCO LNC - UNESCO Latvian National Commission

UoL - University of Latvia

UoL SSF - Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Latvia

1. Summary of the Guidelines

The grounds for the mass media policy of Latvia are laid down in Article 100 of the Constitution: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to freely receive, keep and distribute information and to express his or her views. Censorship is prohibited." This area is currently governed by two main laws - the Law On the Press and Other Mass Media adopted in 1990 and the Electronic Mass Media Law adopted in 2010.

Mass media is the resource for generating opinions, values, identity, and social memory of the society. Upon implementing the freedom of expression and ensuring the diversity of opinions, they are important for a democratic political system. Despite that, uniform, targeted planning of mass media policy has not hitherto been carried out in Latvia. Although several levels of legal regulation for the mass media sector exist (national, international, and European Union legal acts), the environment of mass media has not hitherto been developed in Latvia from point of view of sustainability and securitability. However, it has been viewed as one of the side topics in the context of informative environment in the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy 2012-2018.

Rapid changes are taking place in the mass media environment at both global and local level, being determined by the technological progress, convergence, changes in the way the society thinks. Some of these processes may cause risks to the national cultural space, language and diversity of mass media environment. Therefore it is an immediate necessity to develop forward-looking, thought-out, sustainable sectoral policy which could be seamlessly integrated within the scope of Latvia as democratic, lawful and national Member State of the European Union.

The Mass Media Policy Guidelines of Latvia 2016-2020 (hereinafter - the Guidelines) are a medium-term policy planning document developed by the working group established with the Order No. 5.1.-1-225 of 17 September 2014 of the Ministry of Culture, On Establishment of the Working Group for the Development of the Draft Mass Media Policy Guidelines, (hereinafter - the Working Group) for the time period of five years. The Guidelines lay down the basic principles, objective, priorities of the national mass media policy and the tasks to be carried out within this time period, as well as supplement and continue the development perspective provided for in other topically related national policy planning documents.

The Guidelines include the objective of the mass media policy, five action directions, the description of the spatial perspective of the planned policy, policy results and performance-based indicators, action directions and tasks, indicative evaluation in relation to State and local government budgets, link-up with policy planning documents and legal acts. An explanation of concepts has been appended in Annex to the Guidelines, the situation in the mass media environment of Latvia has been characterised, main problems of the mass media environment to be solved with the assistance of a thought-out mass media policy have been defined, as well as initial impact assessment of the solution offered has been provided.

The Working Group convened for the first meeting for the development of draft Guidelines on 3 October 2014. It included representatives of the mass media environment of Latvia from both public service media and private mass media and representatives of organisations and associations from the Information and Communications Technology Association of Latvia, the Latvian Press Publishers Association, the Latvian Association of Broadcasting Organisations, the Latvian Advertising Association, the Latvian Association of Journalists, the Latvian Union of Journalists. Also the National Electronic Mass Media Council, as well as representatives from the State Chancellery, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Justice got involved in the Working Group. Also sectoral experts from the University of Latvia, Riga Stradins University and Vidzeme University College participated.

The overarching objective of the mass media policy of Latvia is a strong, diverse, professional, transparent, sustainable and stable mass media environment in which content of good quality and corresponding to the interests of the society of Latvia and joint benefit is being created at a national, regional, and local level, which promotes the presentation of the fundamental values embedded in the Constitution and its introduction in the national mass media space, in Latvian as priority, in which the interests of sectoral representatives are in balance, the audience has access to independent and trustworthy information and has the knowledge of using it.

The objective of the Guidelines and the action directions arising therefrom are based in five main fundamental principles of the mass media policy of Latvia:

1. Diversity of mass media

A democratic state is based on mass media which represents different groups of the society and allows free existence of different convictions and lifestyles in the public space. Such mass media strengthen a democratic state and society. Diversity of mass media is characterised by different formats, genres, authors, sources, topics covered, opinions, languages, and groups of the society. The opinions represented in mass media are diverse by essence and are not polar only. Diversity of mass media promotes the diversity of quality content, pluralism of opinions, geographical and social availability, promotes the freedom of speech and expression, diverse space for discussions and debates in a democratic society. Being aware that convergence tendencies of the mass media content become more pronounced nowadays, the mass media policy is nevertheless directed against concentration of such mass media owners which endanger diversity of opinions. Economic vitality of the mass media environment is the grounds for ensuring an opportunity of successful mass media entrepreneurship and thus - for preserving and developing the diversity of mass media.

2. Quality and responsibility of mass media environment

Mass media offer responsible, trustworthy, independent journalism of good quality to the society. Mass media employees and individual journalists are aware of and comply with the criteria of professional conduct and quality - objectiveness, balancing of opinions, responsibility, etc. Professional organisations initiate discussions in the society regarding aspects of ethics, professionalism, and other aspects of the quality of journalism. Mass media conforms to gender equality and children's rights, prevent discrimination of any kind or its risks both in the work of editorial staff and content, as well as prevents incitations to hatred and violence.

3. Professional mass media environment

Educational programmes for mass media in higher education institutions prepare students for work in the mass media sector in good quality. Mass media, sectoral organisations promote training, lifelong education and other professional improvement for persons working in mass media and individually in the sector.

4. Mass media literacy of the audience

The skills of the audience to use mass media, to search for and analyse information, to critically evaluate the messages of mass media promote communicative integration of the society. Such skills promote the creative activity of an individual, as well as reduce one-direction influence of mass media communication, allowing to identify and prevent the distribution of biased information. A well-informed audience is able to distinguish mass media that supports and represents the principles of quality and credible journalism.

5. Securitability of mass media environment

Mass media sector of Latvia is of strategic significance for the maintenance and preservation of national security and the cultural space of Latvia, for offering quality mass media content that corresponds to democratic values, taking into account the interests of the whole society of Latvia and strengthening the Latvian language in the cultural and socially political environment of Latvia. In the mass media space of Latvia it is of high importance to support creation and dissemination of quality mass media content to reach to minorities living in Latvia with the aim of strengthening their consciousness of statehood and a sense of belonging to Latvia.

On 6 July 2015 the Ministry of Culture initiated public discussion of the draft Guidelines, and it was concluded on 30 July 2015 with a public discussion meeting. Within the scope of public discussion the Ministry of Culture received 18 written submissions with proposals/objections (in total 219 proposals/objections were received), and they were evaluated, and respective supplementations and adjustments were made to the draft Guidelines.

The mass media policy activities planned in the Guidelines will be organised considering the possibilities of the State budget.

2. Policy Objective and Action Directions

The objective of the Mass Media Policy Guidelines is to create favourable conditions for the operation of mass media, ensuring and developing mass media diversity, improving professional education of professionals of the mass media sector, improving the quality and responsibility of the mass media environment, promoting the development of mass media literacy, and promoting mass media environment safe for an individual and the society.

Action directions of the policy are as follows:

1. Diversity of mass media environment.

2. Quality and responsibility of mass media environment.

3. Education of professionals of mass media sector.

4. Mass media literacy.

5. Securitability of mass media environment.

3. Spatial Perspective of the Planned Policy

The Guidelines and their implementation plan are applicable to the territory of the Republic of Latvia and extraterritorially - to the diaspora of Latvia (in two aspects: providing for the provision of support to the creation of quality content of public significance in diaspora mass media and to the representation of diaspora topics in mass media content in Latvia).

The Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019 provide for the promotion of balanced development of the State territory, "particularly promoting economic activity and preservation of existing inhabitants in territories outside the capital city and its adjacent surroundings".1 According thereto several issues included in the Guidelines are directed towards preservation of sustainability and diversity of regional mass media. The following activities for Implementation Plan of Guidelines shall apply to regional media support: 1) to determine that mass media and communication channels funded by or under complete or partial control of local governments and other public officials do not conduct commercial activity in the advertising market; 2) support to regional mass media within the scope of programmes of the mass media support fund.

The Plan for Implementation of the Guidelines also provides for other activities, for example, for promotion of sustainability of printed press which will presumably have a favourable impact also on the conditions of operation of regional newspapers.

It is planned that upon implementing support measures for regional mass media access to services, inter alia information services, will be ensured to inhabitants in regions. Thus one of preconditions for preservation of population in territories outside the capital city and its adjacent surroundings will be promoted.

The Action Programme "Latgale Programme 2010-2017" (more precisely - Sub-programme "Information Space of Latgale" of the Transport and Communications Programme "Connections") identified existence of several information spaces as one of the main problems in Latgale.2 This problem is still existing.3 It is provided for in Action Direction No. 5 "Securitability of mass media environment" of the Guidelines to strengthen the public service media which includes increase in the proportion of original content therein. The Plan also includes activities - to restrict illegal distribution of electronic mass media content (including in the border area of Russia) and to increase the ability to implement the supervisory function of the NEMMC - which is directed towards increasing the securitability of the mass media environment of the whole Latvia, inter alia of Latgale.

4. Policy Results and Performance-based Indicators

1. Policy result (PR)

Diversity of mass media environment of Latvia retained

Performance-based indicator (PBI)

Year 2015 Base value

Year 2016

Year 2018

Year 2020

1.1. Consumption of mass media content created in Latvia by inhabitants of Latvia

1.1.1. Consumption of television programmes created in Latvia (in linear form) - TV watching time share (share, %)

48.9%4

≥ 48%5

≥ 48%

≥ 48%

1.1.2. Number of websites created in Latvia which may be deemed mass media and which have been included in TOP20 according to the average audience of one day

56

≥ 5

≥ 6

≥ 6

1.2. External diversity

1.2.1. Number of national and regional TV programmes

187

≥178

≥17

≥17

1.2.2. Number of regional press publications (according to the data of the Latvian Press Publishers Association)

459

≥45

≥4410

≥44

1.2.3. City, regional and municipality newspapers (which are not local government newspapers) (according to the data of the Bibliography Institute of the National Library of Latvia)

5911

≥59

≥5812

≥58

1.2.3.1. Number of regional press publications in Russian

1413

≥14

≥1314

≥13

1.2.4. Distribution of newspapers according to languages:

1.2.4.1. In Latvian

78%15

≥70% - ≤80%

≥70% - ≤80%

≥70% - ≤80%

1.2.4.2. In other languages

22%

≥20% - ≤30%

≥20% - ≤30%

≥20% - ≤30%

1.2.5. Distribution of magazines according to languages:

1.2.5.1. In Latvian

75%16

≥70% - ≤80%

≥70% - ≤80%

≥70% - ≤80%

1.2.5.2. In other languages

25%

≥20% - ≤30%

≥20% - ≤30%

≥20% - ≤30%

1.2.6.Number of national daily newspapers in Latvian17

3

3

3

3

1.2.7. Number of national daily newspapers in Russian18

3

3

3

3

1.2.8. Number of radio stations operating in the media market of Latvia

1.2.8.1. Commercial radio stations

4

4

4

4

1.2.8.2. Number of programmes

69

69

69

69

1.2.8.3. Among them national broadcasting programmes

5

5

5

5

1.2.8.4. Local radio programmes

53

53

53

53

1.2.8.5. Regional radio programmes

1119

11

11

11

1.2.9. Public service media funding (% from GDP)

0.11%20

0.11%

0.15%

0.19%

1.3. Internal diversity of mass media

1.3.1. Preservation/increase of the diversity of mass media content in news agencies, printed, audio, audio-visual and Internet media

1.3.1.1. Primary and secondary media information sources in news regarding issues and topics of socio-political significance in relation to 1) Riga and its vicinity; 2) remaining territory of Latvia
1.3.1.2. Diversity of information sources in other genres of journalism

   

a21

≥a22

1.3.1.3. Political pluralism in mass media

   

1.3.1.4. Representation of cultural and social groups in mass media

   

1.3.1.5. Geographical diversity of mass media content, including proportion of regionally and locally oriented content

   

1.3.1.6. Number (and volume) of content units which are offered by public service media and largest private media to disabled persons

   

1.3.1.7. Number (and volume) of content units which are offered by public service media and largest private media regarding issues of Latvian diaspora

   

1.3.1.8. Proportion of locally created content in public service media and private mass media

   

1.3.1.9. Proportion of mass media content created by independent producers

   

1.3.20. Diversity of mass media genres

   

1.3.2. Preservation/increase of the diversity of mass media employees in news agencies, printed, audio, audio-visual and Internet media

1.3.2.1. Number of journalists and editors working in regional mass media

   

c23

=c24

1.3.2.2. Number of journalists and editors working in mass media of other languages

   

1.3.2.3. Increase in the sum total of social insurance mandatory contributions in professions related to the work in mass media25

x26

=x27

+2%

+4%

1.3.3. Preservation/increase of the diversity of mass media owners in news agencies, printed, audio, audio-visual and Internet media

1.3.3.1. Proportion of mass media which have the same owner at national and concurrently regional/local level.28

   

y29

≤y30

1.3.3.2. Proportion of mass media owners involved in cross-media ownership

   

Link-up:
• Article 317 of the National Development Plan of Latvia 2014-2020;
• Articles 62, 307 of the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030;
• Paragraph 4.5 of the National Security Concept;
• Action Direction 1.4 of the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018);
• Action Direction 5.1 of the Cultural Policy Guidelines 2014-2020 "Creative Latvia";
• Long-term and medium-term objectives of the Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019;
• Basic principles of the Information Society Development Guidelines 2014-2020;
• Objective of the Official Language Policy Guidelines 2015-2020;
• Action Direction 3 of the Action Plan On Cooperation with Diaspora of Latvia 2015-2017;
• Policy direction of the National Reform Programme of Latvia for Implementation of the Strategy "EU 2020" and measure for reduction of structural unemployment - introduction of the principle of lifelong learning;
• Long-term and medium-term objectives of the Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019;
• Objective of the Guidelines for Electronic Communications Sectoral Policy of the Republic of Latvia 2011-2016;

2. Policy result

Increase in the level of mass media literacy in the society

Performance-based indicator (PBI)

Year 2015

Base value

Year 2016

Year 2018

Year 2020

2.1. Children and youth audience

   

x31

by 15%,

2.2. Adult audience

by 7%.

Link-up:
• Article 317 of the National Development Plan of Latvia 2014-2020;
• Articles 62, 307 of the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030;
• Paragraph 4.5 of the National Security Concept;
• Action Direction 1.4 of the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018);
• Action Direction 5.1 of the Cultural Policy Guidelines 2014-2020 "Creative Latvia";
• Long-term and medium-term objectives of the Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019;
• Basic principles of the Information Society Development Guidelines 2014-2020;
• Policy direction of the National Reform Programme of Latvia for Implementation of the Strategy "EU 2020" and measure for reduction of structural unemployment - introduction of the principle of lifelong learning;
• Sub-objective 2 of the Youth Policy Guidelines 2009-2018;

5. 5. Action Directions and Tasks

I Action Direction Diversity of mass media environment

No.

Task

Term for execution (year)

Responsible institution

Co-responsible institutions

Link-up with the policy result and performance-based indicator

1.

Separate the types of State support for public service media and private mass media

2016-2020

MoC, NEMMC

MoC, MoF, LAJ, LUJ, LABO, LPPA, LTV, LR

PR 1

PBI 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.4, 1.2.5, 1.2.6, 1.2.7, 1.2.8, 1.2.9, 1.3.1, 1.3.2.1, 1.3.3

2.

To achieve fair competition in the advertising market of regional mass media

2017

MoC

CC, MoE, MoEPRD, LPPA, Latvian Advertising Association, LAJ, LALC, LALRG

PR 1

PBI 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.8.4. 1.2.8.5

3.

To support the sustainability of printed press in analogue and digital environment

2017

MoC

LPPA

PR 1

PBI 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.4, 1.2.5, 1.2.6, 1.2.7, 1.3.2.1

4.

To support the creation of quality content in Latvian for Latvians residing abroad

Starting from 2017

MoC

 

PR 1

PBI 1.10, 1.3.1.7

5.

To support the creation of content for disabled person in mass media regardless of their type and platform

Starting from 2017

MoC

 

PR 1

PBI 13.1.6

6.

To survey the level of mass media diversity in Latvia

2017, 2020

MoC

 

PR 1

PBI 1.1-1.3

II Action Direction Quality and responsibility of mass media

No.

Task

Term for execution (year)

Responsible institution

Co-responsible institutions

Link-up with the policy result and performance-based indicator

1.

To promote self-organisation of mass media of Latvia for improvement of quality and responsibility

2017-2018

MoC

NEMMC, LAJ, LUJ, LPPA, LABO, mass media enterprises

PR 1

PBI 1.3.1.1, 1.3.1.2, 1.3.1.3, 1.3.1.4

III Action Direction: Education of professionals of mass media sector

No.

Task

Term for execution (year)

Responsible institution

Co-responsible institutions

Link-up with the policy result and performance-based indicator

1.

To improve the quality of mass media and journalism studies

2016-2020

MoES, MoC

MoC, MoES

PR 1

PBI 1.3.1, 1.3.1.1-1.3.1.5

2.

To support lifelong learning of mass media professionals

Starting from 2016

MoFA, MoC

MoC, MoFA, professional NGOs, mass media and academic organisations

PR 1

PBI 1.3.1, 1.3.1.1-1.3.1.5

IV Action Direction: Mass media literacy

No.

Task

Term for execution (year)

Responsible institution

Co-responsible institutions

Link-up with the policy result and performance-based indicator

1.

To survey the level of mass media literacy in society

2016-2020

MoC, MoES (implementer UoL SSF)

UNESCO LNC

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

2.

To improve the knowledge of the public in mass media literacy

2016-2020

MoC, MoES

MoES, MoC, NLL, LAJ, UoL SSF

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

3.

To include in mass media such content which develops mass media literacy

2017-2020

MoC

 

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

PR 1

PBI 1.3.20

4.

To include mass media literacy in the content of education

2016-2020

MoC, MoES (UoL SSF), Agency for International Programs for Youth of the MoES

MoES, MoC, NCE, UNESCO LNC, NGO, service

PR 2

PBI 2.1

5.

To educate teachers for teaching mass media literacy in educational institutions

2017-2020

MoC

MoES, NLL, UoL SSF, LAJ

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

6.

To prepare would-be teachers for teaching mass media literacy in educational institutions

2017-2020

MoC, MoES, institutions of higher education which offer study programmes for teachers

MoES, UoL SSF, State Education Development Agency of MoES, institutions of higher education which offer study programmes for teachers

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

7.

To create materials for teachers regarding mass media literacy issues

2017

MoC

MoES, NCE, service

PR 2

PBI 2.1, 2.2

V Action Direction: Securitability of mass media environment

No.

Task

Term for execution (year)

Responsible institution

Co-responsible institutions

Link-up with the policy result and performance-based indicator

1.

To improve the environment for operation of electronic mass media of Latvia

2016-2020

NEMMC

MoC

PR 1

PBI 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.8, 1.2.9

2.

To make the supervisory system of the mass media environment of Latvia efficient

Starting from 2016

NEMMC, MoI

MoC, MoT, NEMMC, sectoral undertakings and organisations

PR 1

PBI 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.8

3.

To achieve the conformity of legal framework of mass media registration with the current situation and good management practice of mass media

2016-2017

MoC, MoJ

MoJ, ER, MoC

PR 1

PBI 1.3.3.1, 1.3.3.2

4.

To draft laws and regulations so that the legal framework would conform to the current situation and mass media needs

2017-2018

MoC

 

PR 1

PBI 1.1.2, 1.2

5.

To increase the social security of mass media professionals

2017-2018

MoC, MoW

MoW, MoC

PR 1

PBI 1.3.2.3

6. Impact on State and Local Government Budgets

The institutions funded from the State budget shall implement the Mass Media Policy Guidelines of Latvia 2016-2020 within the scope of the funds from the State budget. See the funding granted and additionally necessary in Table 6.1.

Table 6.1

Year of implementation of the Guidelines

Funding granted, euro

Funding additionally necessary, euro

2016

131,718

0

2017

1,387,516

0

2018

1,329,592

0

2019

1,212,374

0

2020 (if implementation of measures in terminated from 2020)

0

61,718

2020 (and hereinafter every year)

0

7,252,656

IN TOTAL:

4,061,200

7,314,374

Upon implementing Activity 5.3.2 of the Plan for Implementation of the Guidelines, it is planned to attract the funding from the European Regional Development Fund for the creation of a solution for the reform of the Register of Mass Media, if the planned project conforms to the conditions for introduction of Measure 2.2.1.2 "Digitalisation of the Cultural Heritage" of the Specific Objective 2.2.1 "To ensure increase in re-use of public data and efficient interaction of the public administration and private sector" of the Operational Programme "Growth and Employment", and to the conditions for evaluation of project applications. If ERDF funding is not granted, the relevant reform must be implemented within the scope of another funding.

Implementation of the Guidelines does not have a direct impact on the local government budget.

7. Link-up of the Guidelines with Policy Planning Documents and Legal Acts

The Guidelines and their implementation is related to the national and international legal acts, as well as long-term and medium-term development planning documents of the national level.

The development of mass media policy is determined by Article 67 of the Declaration on the Planned Activity of the Cabinet Led by Māris Kučinskis, which provides for adoption and implementation of the mass media policy and for implementation of measures strengthening the information space of Latvia.

Link-up of the Guidelines with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia

▪ The Guidelines have been drawn up in conformity with that laid down in the introduction, Articles 1, 4, 99, and 100 of the Constitution.32

Link-up of the Guidelines with long-term and medium-term development planning documents of national level

▪ It is provided for in paragraph 317 of the National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014-2020 that "the state should strengthen the quality of the space for public information and democratic discussion that ensures communication encompassing the entire society and promoting participation, as well as the state's ability to hear out and communicate with residents and compatriots abroad by explaining the decisions made and promoting a consciousness of unifying values and goals".33 In turn, the task to be carried out is indicated in paragraph 342: "Creation of a high quality, democratic informational space that ensures access to information about the country and developments in public life to people throughout Latvia, to Latvian nationals abroad and to ethnic minorities and different generations, with special emphasis of audiovisual products created in Latvia."34

▪ The media aspect is also included in the Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030, emphasising the necessity to expand the digital cultural space of Latvia (Paragraph 62) and to ensure access to mass media (Paragraphs 306-307).35

▪ The necessity for a single, generally accessible information space and the significance of preserving the pluralism in the mass media and the diversity of information environment is pointed out in Paragraph 4.5 of the National Security Concept approved on 26 November 2015.36

▪ The objective of strengthening democratic information space of good quality is included in Action Direction 1.4 of the Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy (2012-2018), in turn, the development of Media Policy Guidelines is determined in Paragraph 1.4.1.6 in the plan for implementation of these Guidelines in the time period until 2016.37

▪ The "National Reform Programme of Latvia for Implementation of the Strategy "EU 2020"" is related to the sub-objective of the Media Policy Guidelines - promotion of education of media professionals. One of the policy directions therein is introduction of the lifelong learning principle with the objective "to promote continuous improvement and development of the knowledge, skills, and competence of inhabitants" providing for "continuous involvement of 15% of inhabitants (from 25-64 years of age) in study process in 2020".38

▪ One of the tasks of the sub-objective to develop mass media literacy defined in the Guidelines is directed towards improvement of mass media literacy of young people. It conforms to the "Youth Policy Guidelines 2009-2018", in which one of the sub-objectives is "to promote the participation of young persons in decision-making, youth organisations, and youth initiative groups, as well as involvement in voluntary work, physical activities, sports, and cultural life".39

▪ Also the objective defined in the Official Language Policy Guidelines 2015-2020 to ensure the development and sustainability of the Latvian language as the only official language is taken into account in the Media Policy Guidelines.40

▪ Similarly, planning of the media policy is largely conforming to the intersectoral policy planning document drawn up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - action plan "On Co-operation with Diaspora of Latvia 2015-2017". Its first two sub-objectives are directed towards preservation of the Latvian language in diaspora, provision of more extensive possibilities for contact with the culture of Latvia, as well as increasing the sense of belonging to the State of Latvia and culture in diaspora.41 Part of certain action measures are related to the development of mass media - access to information for diaspora in the Internet environment, informing of the diaspora regarding the work of the government, co-operation of mass media of Latvia and diaspora, publicity of the topic of diaspora in mass media at large, as well as the necessity to provide support to the development of websites and communication networks of diaspora. In implementing these measures, it is planned to promote, with the intermediation of Latvian mass media, inclusion of diaspora "in information space of Latvia, ensuring awareness of diaspora of the current affairs in Latvia and strengthening the link of diaspora with Latvia. The role of public service media of Latvia is strengthened in circulation of global information between Latvia and diaspora."42

▪ The issue of mass media is also discussed in the cultural policy guidelines 2014-2020 "Creative Latvia" drawn up by the Ministry of Culture.43 The necessity for permanent State support to mass media for the shaping of value-orientation and understanding of mentally active, socially responsible and creative society, for promotion of critical thinking, and ethical attitude is indicated therein, as well as the necessity for increase in the cultural content of mass media of Latvia is justified.

▪ Planning of the mass media policy of Latvia took place also according to the Information Society Development Guidelines 2014-2020 drawn up under management of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. One of the areas of emphasis of this document is increasing of e-skills and improvement of Internet access and speed. The basic principles in the field of information society provide for access ensured for everyone to information and for developed information literacy in all sectors and all social groups as being essential.44

▪ In planning mass media policy, the Guidelines for Electronic Communications Sectoral Policy 2011-2016 drawn up by the Ministry of Transport were taken into account. Their objective is "to ensure access to electronic communications services of good quality throughout the territory of the Republic of Latvia, promoting the creation of a regulated environment that is beneficial for investments and the use of innovative technologies".45 In drawing up the Guidelines for Electronic Communications Sectoral Policy, the telecommunications report package directives of 200246 were conformed to, which provided for the creation of regulation of electronic communications which includes not only regulation of telecommunication, but also issues related to radio and television broadcasting, cable television, and Internet (but not content of the Internet).

▪ Also drawing up of the Guidelines took place according to the Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019 which provide for the promotion of balanced development of the State territory in order to preserve inhabitants in territories outside Riga and its vicinity.47

▪ It is provided for in the Guidelines for Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2014-2020 that, upon drawing up policy planning documents and draft legal acts, sectoral ministries are responsible for integration therein of the principle of equal opportunities for disabled persons.48

▪ It is planned in the Sports Policy Guidelines 2014-2020 to increase the number of programmes and broadcasts dedicated to sports, as well as of programmes dedicated to popularisation of healthy lifestyle and sports activities included in the public service remit.49

Link-up of the Guidelines with legal acts and documents of the European Union, Council of Europe, and other international legal acts and documents binding to Latvia

▪ The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 in the Preamble of which the freedom of speech and thought is emphasised.50

▪ It is laid down in Article 10(1) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950 that "everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises." In turn, it is indicated in Article 10(2) that the exercise of these freedoms is related to duties and responsibilities, and the cases when they may be restricted.51

▪ It is laid down in Article 19(2) of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 that "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Paragraph 3 of the same Article provides for the potential restrictions for exercising these rights which are related to respect of the rights or reputations of others and the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.52 In turn, Article 20 of this Covenant imposes a duty on the member states to prohibit war propaganda and to advocate for national, racial or religious hatred.

▪ The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 197953 imposes a duty on the countries to eliminate and prevent discrimination against women.

▪ The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965 imposes a duty on the countries to eliminate and prevent discrimination, dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority, incitement to hatred or acts of violence.54

▪ The Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1984 imposes a duty on the countries to guarantee that in all actions in relation to children, regardless of whether these actions are carried out by State institutions or private institutions, primarily the best interests of the child must be ensured.55 The Convention guarantees the rights of the child to freedom of speech, as well as protects the rights of the child to inviolability of private and family life. In Article 17 of the Convention the importance of media is particularly recognised, and the member states are imposed a duty to ensure that children have access to information and materials from different local and international sources.

▪ The UN Beijing Platform for Action of 1995 - programme for improvement of the situation of women (Latvia signed it on 15 September 1995). Its mission is to remove all the obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making. There a separate section "Women and the Media" in the document in which strategic objectives are indicated: 1) to increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication; 2) to promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media.56

▪ Articles 14, 106, 107, and 108 of consolidated versions of the Treaty on the European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Protocol 29 On the System of Public Broadcasting in the Member States (Amsterdam Protocol) which provide for basic conditions for granting of State aid and funding of public broadcasting.57

▪ The Audiovisual Media Services Directive of 2010 on co-ordination of some provisions provided for in regulatory and administrative acts of Member States regarding provision of audiovisual media services in the states of the European Economic Area.58 It is the main legal act of the European Union governing the sector of audiovisual media services in which: prohibition of incitement to hatred, protection of children, minors and human dignity, restrictions on commercial communications (advertisements), sponsorship and product placement, promotion of dissemination of European productions, access to information regarding the provider of media services, etc. is determined. In Directive direct broadcasting services (television broadcast according to specific programme) is separated from services upon request (for example, watching of a programme at a time preferable for the viewer). Although equal fundamental principles are specified for all audiovisual media services, the framework is more flexible in relation to services upon individual request because these services are selected by the viewer himself or herself and, for example, it is easier to control their availability to children. The Audiovisual Media Services Directive is introduced in Latvia by the Electronic Mass Media Law.

▪ Commission Decision of 2012 on the application of Article 106(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to State aid in the form of public service compensation granted to certain undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest.59

▪ Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on a new notion of media.60

▪ Communication from the Commission on the Application of State Aid Rules to Public Service Broadcasting of 2001.61

▪ The Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe of 201562 which provides for several measures for better access to online goods and measures, creation of better circumstances for the development and improvement of digital networks and services, promotion of growth of the digital economy of Europe.63

Link-up of the Guidelines with legal acts of Latvia:

▪ Law On the Press and Other Mass Media.64

▪ Electronic Mass Media Law.65

▪ Law On Value Added Tax.66

▪ Postal Law.67

▪ Electronic Communications Law.68


1 Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. (2013). Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019. http://www.varam.gov.lv/in_site/tools/download.php?file=files/text/att_planosanas_dok//pamatnostadnes.pdf

2 Latgale planning region, Group 93. (2010). Latgale Programme 2010-2017. See: http://www.latgale.lv/lv/files/download?id=1583 p. 10.

3 Murinska-Gaile, S. (2015). Press of Latgale Region in the Socio-cultural Space: Doctoral paper. Riga: Department of Communication Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Latvia. 180 p.

4 Indicator in December 2015. See: Vendele, L. (2015). Audiences of TV channels in December 2015. TNS Latvia. http://www.tns.lv/?lang=lv&fullarticle=true&category=showuid&id=4897

Programme

360TV

Kanāls2

LNT

LTV1

LTV7

PBK

Re:TV

Rīga Tv 24

TV3

TV5

TV6

IN TOTAL

TV watching time share (%)

0.1
%

0.9
%

7.4
%

9.2
%

2.3
%

8.7
%

0.4
%

0.8
%

12.4
%

4.1
%

2.8
%

48.9
%

5 Taking into account the decision of "MTG TV Latvia" at the end of March 2016 to close the television programme TV5, the objective is to preserve the current indicator of consumption of television programmes created in Latvia (with minimum reduction).

6 Indicator in spring 2015: Vendele, L. (2015). The Internet is regularly used by 68% of inhabitants of Latvia already. TNS Latvia. See: http://www.tns.lv/?lang=lv&fullarticle=true&category=showuid&id=4797

7 Data of 2013 (2 public, 9 private, and 7 regional television programmes): European Audiovisual Observatory. (2014). 2014 Yearbook: Television, cinema, video and on-demand audiovisual services - the pan-European picture. P. 124.

8 Reduction is related to the decision of "MTG TV Latvia" at the end of March 2016 to close the television programme TV5.

9 Data of the Latvian Press Publishers Association: http://www.lpia.lv/?id=191&izd=2

10 Taking into account general development tendencies of mass media, inter alia printed press, which are explained in more detail in Annex to the Guidelines, the objective is to preserve the current number although small reduction is possible.

11 Bibliography Institute of the National Library of Latvia. (2015). Statistics of Latvian Publishing 2014: Compilation of Statistical Materials. Riga: http://dom.lndb.lv/data/obj/file/267047.pdf

12 See Reference 10

13 Data of the Latvian Press Publishers Association: http://www.lpia.lv/?id=191&izd=2

14 See Reference 10

15 Data of 2014: Bibliography Institute of the National Library of Latvia. (2015). Statistics of Latvian Publishing 2014: Compilation of Statistical Materials. Riga: http://dom.lndb.lv/data/obj/file/267047.pdf

16 Data of 2014. The content also includes bulletins and articles. See: Bibliography Institute of the National Library of Latvia. (2015). Statistics of Latvian Publishing 2014: Compilation of Statistical Materials. Riga: http://dom.lndb.lv/data/obj/file/267047.pdf

17 Bibliography Institute of the National Library of Latvia. (2015). Statistics of Latvian Publishing 2014: Compilation of Statistical Materials. Riga: http://dom.lndb.lv/data/obj/file/267047.pdf

18 Ibid.

19 Data of 2014: Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies. (2015). Radio Broadcasting in Latvia - Economic Analysis. Riga: http://neplpadome.lv/lv/assets/documents/Petijumi/Radio_apraide_Latvija_2015_Jaunaka_versija.pdf;

NEMMC (2014). Commercial radios. Register. http://neplpadome.lv/lv/sakums/komercialie-mediji/komercialie-radio/registrs.html

20 Data of 2014: Media intelligence service of the European Broadcasting Union. (2015). Funding of public service media 2015. https://www3.ebu.ch/publications/funding-of-public-service-media P.19.

21 Study on internal and external diversity of mass media in Latvia with quantitative and qualitative methods in 2017 and identical study in 2020.

22 Results of the study in relation to which comparison may be performed in 2020 will be known only after the implemented study in 2017.

23 Study on internal and external diversity of mass media in Latvia with quantitative and qualitative methods in 2017 and identical study in 2020.

24 Results of the study in relation to which comparison may be performed in 2020 will be known only after the implemented study in 2017.

25 In professions: commentator, correspondent, editor, editor-in-chief, reporter, journalist, moderator of a television/radio broadcast, camera operator.

26 Information of the State Revenue Service.

27 The indicator has not changed because it is planned to complete the planned activity - amendments to the law - in 2017.

28 See in more detail: Valcke, P. (project leader). (2009). Independent Study on Indicators for Media Pluralism in the Member States - Towards a Risk-Based Approach: Prepared for the European Commission Directorate-General Information Society and Media. Look: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/sites/digital-agenda/files/final_report_09.pdf

29 Study on internal and external diversity of mass media in Latvia with quantitative and qualitative methods in 2017 and identical study in 2020.

30 Results of the study in relation to which comparison may be performed in 2020 will be known only after the implemented study in 2017.

31 Results of the study in relation to which comparison may be performed in 2020 will be known only after the implemented study in 2017.

32 Constitutional Assembly of Latvia (1922). Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. See: http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=57980

33 Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre. (2012). National Development Plan of Latvia for 2014-2020. See: http://www.varam.gov.lv/lat/pol/ppd/ilgtsp_att/?doc=13858

34 Ibid.

35 Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. (2010). Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030. See: http://www.pkc.gov.lv/images/LV2030/LIAS_2030_en.pdf

36Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. (2015). National Security Concept. See: http://titania.saeima.lv/LIVS12/saeimalivs_lmp.nsf/0/32929C68524BEAA1C2257F09002F87A2?OpenDocument

37 Ministry of Culture. (2011). Guidelines on National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy 2012-2018. See: http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/LoadAtt/file24306.docx.

38 Ministry of Economics. (2011). National Reform Programme of Latvia for Implementation of the Strategy "EU 2020". See: ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/nrp/nrp_latvia_lv.doc p. 19.

39 Ministry of Education and Science. (2009). Youth Policy Guidelines 2009-2018. See: http://www.youthpolicy.org/national/Latvia_2009_Youth_Policy_Guidelines.pdf

40 Ministry of Education and Science. (2014). Official Language Policy Guidelines 2015-2020. See: http://www.valoda.lv/downloadDoc_1512/mid_504

41 Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (2014). Action Plan On Co-operation with Diaspora of Latvia 2015-2017. See: http://www.mfa.gov.lv/data/file/AMPlans_150714_Diaspora.662.pdf

42 Ibid. Pp. 23-27.

43 Ministry of Culture. (2014). Cultural policy guidelines 2014-2020 "Creative Latvia". See: http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/documents/4877

44 Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. (2013). Information Society Development Guidelines 2014-2020. See: http://www.varam.gov.lv/in_site/tools/download.php?file=files/text/dokumenti/pol_doc/elietas//IS_pamatnostadnes_2013.pdf

45 Ministry of Transport. (2011). Summary of the Guidelines for Electronic Communications Sectoral Policy of the Republic of Latvia 2011-2016. See: http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/view.do?id=3625

46 Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive), OJ L 108, 24.4.2002; Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications), OJ L 201, 31.7.2002.

47 Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development. (2013). Regional Policy Guidelines 2013-2019. See: http://www.varam.gov.lv/in_site/tools/download.php?file=files/text/att_planosanas_dok//pamatnostadnes.pdf

48 Ministry of Welfare. (2013). Guidelines for Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2014-2020. See: http://www.lm.gov.lv/upload/2013junijs/lmpamn_040613_inv.pdf

49 Although the content of the public service remit is under management of the NEMMC and public media, these Guidelines are indicated as the medium-term planning document related to the media policy guidelines due to Paragraph 20 of the summary of its main tasks and measures which emphasises the significance of media in popularisation of healthy lifestyle and sports activities. See: Ministry of Education and Science. (2013). Sports Policy Guidelines 2014-2020. See: http://polsis.mk.gov.lv/documents/4599, p. 40.

50 UN. (1948). UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. See:

http://www.tiesibsargs.lv/tiesibu-akti/ano-dokumenti/ano-vispareja-cilvektiesibu-deklaracija/

51 Council of Europe. (1950). Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. http://likumi.lv/ta/lv/starptautiskie-ligumi/id/649

52 UN. (1966). UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. http://likumi.lv/ta/lv/starptautiskie-ligumi/id/705

53 UN. (1979). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979. http://www.mfa.gov.lv/ministrija/latvijas-parstavis-starptautiskajas-cilvektiesibu-institucijas/latvijas-republikas-nacionalie-zinojumi-par-starptautisko-konvenciju-izpildi/1979-gada-konvencija-par-jebkuras-sieviesu-diskriminacijas-izskausanu/1979-gada-konvencija-par-jebkuras-sieviesu-diskriminacijas-izskausanu

54 UN. (1965). Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 21 December 1965. Unofficial translation in Latvian is available at: http://www.humanrights.lv/doc/vispaar/jebkdisk.htm

55 UN. (1989). Convention on the Rights of the Child of 20 November 1989: http://likumi.lv/ta/lv/starptautiskie-ligumi/id/1150

56 UN. (1995). Platform for Action: Report of the Main Committee: Beijing Declaration.

http://www.lm.gov.lv/upload/dzimumu_lidztiesiba/dokumenti_un_tiesibu_akti/pekinas_ric.platforma.doc

57 Consolidated versions of Treaty on the European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Protocol 29: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/ecb/legal/pdf/c_32620121026lv.pdf

58 European Parliament and Council. (2010). Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive). Official Journal of the European Union. 15.4.2010. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32010L0013&from=EN

59 European Commission. (2012). Commission Decision on the application of Article 106(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to State aid in the form of public service compensation granted to certain undertakings entrusted with the operation of services of general economic interest (2012/21/EU). http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32012D0021&from=EN

60 Committee of Ministers. (2011). Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on a new notion of media. See: 18.09.2015. http://www.vvc.gov.lv/export/sites/default/docs/STA/Tulkojumi_no_anglju_val/Ieteikumi/Recommendation_CM_Recx2011x7.doc

61 Communication on the Application of State Aid Rules to Public Service Broadcasting (Text with EEA Relevance). Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/reform/broadcasting_communication_en.pdf;

62 European Commission. (2015). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/digital-single-market/docs/dsm-communication_en.pdf

63 See more at: European Council, Council of the European Union. 2015. Digital Single Market for Europe. See: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/lv/policies/digital-single-market-strategy/

64 Saeima. (20.12.1990.). Law On the Press and Other Mass Media. Likumi.lv. See: 21.05.2015. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=64879

65 Saeima. (12.07.2010.). Electronic Mass Media Law. Likumi.lv. See: 18.05.2015. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=214039

66 Saeima. (29.11.2012.). Law On Value Added Tax. Likumi.lv. See: 21.05.2015. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=253451

67 Saeima. (04.06.2009.). Postal Law. Likumi.lv. See: 21.05.2015. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=193574

68Saeima. (28.10.2004.). Electronic Communications Law. http://likumi.lv/doc.php?id=96611

Minister for Culture D. Melbārde

 


Translation © 2016 Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre)

 
Document information
Title: Par Latvijas mediju politikas pamatnostādnēm 2016.–2020. gadam Status:
In force
in force
Issuer: Cabinet of Ministers Type: order Document number: 667Adoption: 08.11.2016.Entry into force: 08.11.2016.Publication: Latvijas Vēstnesis, 221, 11.11.2016. OP number: 2016/221.3
Language:
LVEN
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