Estonian foreign minister: No problem with freedom of expression in Latvia

Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200).
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

According to Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsakhna (Eesti 200), there is no problem with freedom of expression in Latvia. In his view, the recent discussions in Latvia surrounding media freedom are election-related.

Tsahkna, who visited Latvia on Wednesday, told ERR, that in his opinion, freedom of expression in Latvia is currently fine, despite Latvian journalists believing a "witch-hunt going" on in the country, targeting the Russian-language media in particular.

"I think it's also related to the different elections and emotions are running high. In my opinion, there is certainly no problem with freedom of expression in Latvia," Tsahkna said.

According to Tsahkna, any debate on freedom of expression can only be a good thing, recalling that the topic had also been the subject of recent debate in Estonia.

"Estonia and every other normal country, (now) and in the future, will have debates on freedom of speech. Don't we remember the moment when our previous president (Kersti Kaljulaid) wore the slogan 'The word is free'  (Sõna on vaba) on her sweatshirt in the Riigikogu? I think that any kind of debate on freedom of speech is inherently right and a good thing in a democracy," the foreign minister said.

Latvian state e-media regulatory body, the NEPL, recently opted to fine the ews portal €8,500 over its alleged misuse of the word "deportation," in the context of Latvia's Russian-speaking population, more specifically Russian citizens who are resident in Latvia.

Latvian journalist Inga Springe told ERR, that her country's recently amended migration law, which could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Russian speakers, and the activities of its media monitoring agency, suggest the country is engaged in hate speech and a "witch-hunt," particularly against Russian-language media.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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