On Thursday, 22 September, the Saeima adopted amendments to the Law on the Press and Other Mass Media which require founders and owners of mass media that are capital companies to reveal the beneficial owners to the Register of Enterprises. Mass media owners will be required to submit information on real beneficiaries to the Register of Enterprises in specific cases and in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Commercial Law.
“I am pleased that this convocation of the Saeima has succeeded in adopting regulations that will help to make the media environment in Latvia more transparent and less susceptible to pressure, as well as to promote editorial independence of journalists,” said Ingrīda Circene, Chairperson of the Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee, which was responsible for this Draft Law. “The new parliament will have to continue improving Internet environment.” According to the new amendments, it will be possible to register a website as a mass medium. However, registration will not be mandatory for Internet portals, whose role in public communication is growing.”
The new wording of the Law sets forth that upon registration of a mass medium, it will be mandatory to provide detailed information on its owners (founders) and publishers (legal or natural persons). A new requirement is also introduced to specify the duration of a mass medium’s activity if it is established for a definite period or purpose.
According to the amendments, a website can be registered as a mass medium.
The Law has also been supplemented with a provision setting forth that an editor (chief editor) enjoys editorial independence while performing his/her duties.
These amendments have been introduced upon the recommendation of the Latvian Journalists’ Union.
Saeima Press Service