Russian television channel RT banned in Latvia

Russian television channel RT banned in Latvia

Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual who is under EU sanctions, the country’s permanent representation to the EU said Tuesday.

Dmitry Kiselev, the man that triggered Latvia’s move, was put on the EU sanctions list in March 2014 over his alleged role in promoting Kremlin propaganda in support of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia’s national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselev’s “effective control” and has attempted to present Latvia as a failed state.

But Kiselev, who in 2013 was appointed head of the Kremlin-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya by President Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday said he has never been in charge of RT and accused Latvia of Russophobia.

Banning RT “testifies to the stupidity, incompetence and Russophobia of those in Latvia who make such decisions,” he said in an interview with a Moscow radio station, AP reported.

“I think the Latvians must apologize to RT and put it back on air,” he said.

Margarita Simonyan, head of RT, on Monday ridiculed Latvia’s decision via Twitter also ridiculed the Latvian claim that Kiselev is in charge of the channel.

NEPLP said it would inform media regulators in other EU member nations of its decision and is urging them to also ban RT — “of course respecting that each EU country applies international sanctions following their national law,” a spokeswoman for Latvia’s permanent representation in Brussels added.

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