In April the Latvian media regulator, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), suspended the Rossija RTR TV channel-which broadcasts from Sweden, but is owned by a Russian state media company and prepares content in Russia-from being broadcast in Latvia for six months. The regulator found that shows broadcast by Rossija RTR in 2015 contained hate speech aimed at inciting ethnic hatred in Latvia, as well as reporting that advocated war and conflict. Lithuania's media regulator, the Radio and Television Commission, has previously also suspended broadcasts from Rossija RTR.
A few weeks earlier, in late March, the Latvian government had also moved against the Latvian-language content of Russia's Sputnik News, by removing the online agency's Latvian domain name. The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Sputnik was not a news agency-applications to register the organisation in Latvia had been rejected twice-but rather a propaganda outlet for the Russian government. Sputnik is a part of the Russian state's Russia Today news agency, which is run by Dmitry Kiselyov, who is currently subject to both EU and US government sanctions.
Russian media maintain influence
Russian TV channels will remain popular, despite moves to counter them
Ongoing Russian influence on Baltic public opinion will reinforce societal divisions