Media Law in Latvia (Part Two - Regulatory Framework)
Media Law in Latvia for publishing industry
The main legal act for the publishing industry in Latvia is the Law on the Press. This law provides general provisions about the legal status and operation of mass information means, provisions regarding the establishment of mass media organizations and the termination of their operations, organizing the operation of mass media, and the legal status of journalists, their rights and obligations.
Media Law in Latvia for broadcasting industry
The main legal act for the broadcasting industry is the Electronic Media Law in Latvia. The law provides general provisions about types of broadcasting organizations, provisions about broadcasting permits and the registration of broadcasting organizations, production and broadcasting of broadcasts and programs, the rights of broadcasting organizations to information and their liability, the National Council for Electronic Media and others.
Media Law in Latvia for on-line services
Latvia has not passed specific laws regarding the on-line media industry, but this industry in Latvia is subject to the Law on the Press. Currently, the on-line, or virtual, environment maintains the same legal status as the real-life, physical environment. For instance, an on-line infringement of another person's honor and dignity or menacing of another person in Latvia is subject to the Criminal Law just as it is in the ““actual world.”” When there is such offense, the victims must inform the police just as they normally would with a more traditional violation.
Regulators and their core competencies for Media Law in Latvia.
There are no specific agencies in Latvia that regulate publishing or on-line services, but the Electronic Communications Office, the Competition Council, and the National Council for Electronic Media regulate the broadcasting industry. The National Council for Electronic Media derives its regulatory powers from the Electronic Media Law in Latvia and is an independent authority that consists of five members who are elected by the Parliament of Latvia. The Council organizes the Register of broadcasting and retransmission permits; collects, compiles and analyzes information on the electronic media activities and development; manages electronic media monitoring and summarizes the results; listens, analyzes, and summarizes audience suggestions, complaints, and other information on electronic media activity; and creates equal conditions to all electronic media under the Latvian jurisdiction. The National Council for Electronic Media announces competition on the broadcasting rights in definite geographical area to national, regional or local electronic media in accordance with the Electronic Media Law and national strategy of the development of electronic media. Competition is open to natural persons and legal entities or associations of natural and legal persons from Latvia and the European Union and European Economic Area countries. Basic criteria for evaluation of the competition results is the concept of creative, financial and technical support, as well as the amount of national language used during transmission time. A broadcasting license certifies the electronic media rights to produce and distribute the program and determines rights and obligations of electronic media. A broadcasting license is issued by the National Council for Electronic Media and is valid for 10 years. In order to manage retransmission of programs in public electronic communication networks it is necessary to receive a permit from owner (holder) of the retransmission program and the consent of the National Council for Electronic Media.