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Minister: release of municipal newsletters should be detailed in the law

Municipal administrations must not meddle in the media market. Instead it would be best to clearly detail in the Law on Local Governments how often municipal administrations are allowed to release newsletters, said Latvian Culture Minister Dace Melbārde in regards to media policy.

«There are multiple municipalities in Latvia that have independent media and a regular release of a free newsletter prepared by municipal administration. The newsletter is a tool for public relations. Because there are multiple municipalities in which newsletters are used to compete with independent media, there are two major problems that should be governed by law, because experience shows that municipal administrations are unable to resolve them on their own. First of all, municipal public relations newsletters distort the media market. This is why it is important to detail the law that newsletters must only include information associated with administration’s main functions. Secondly, the law should dictate how often newsletters are released to help prevent competition with weekly media newspaper releases,» Melbārde emphasized.

The minister also reminds that there is an ongoing lawsuit in which SIA Bauskas Dzīve opposes Iecava municipality. The case is currently handled by the European Court for Human Rights.

To avoid such cases, the minister urges Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee to consider arguments provided by Competition Council and press houses when reviewing amendments to the Law on Local Governments in the second reading and strictly establish how often municipal newsletters are allowed to be released.

BNN

 
10-01-2018
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