Latvian Legal Guide for Journalists

In 2018, the Centre for Media Studies at SSE Riga has published the news verification guide for journalists prepared by Ieva Azanda, Ilze Jaunalksne, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. 

Freedom of expression and of the press is one of the cornerstones of a democratic, open society. Journalism as a profession is the guardian of this freedom, gathering information, holding power accountable and disseminating the diverse opinions on matters of public interest.

The base for practising journalism in Latvia – the freedom of speech – is laid down in the Constitution. Special laws (Law on the Press and Other Mass Media, Electronic Media Law) show the special rights granted to the profession: to operate autonomously, regardless of external (publisher, advertiser, political, economic) pressure, to be at locations of socially important events, to request and disseminate information, to protect its sources.

But a journalist also has special obligations: to objectively try to find the truth, to separate opinion from the news, to verify the facts, to protect and disseminate various opinions, retract false information.

The journalist’s work is being carried out on behalf of the mass media with which he/she has concluded job contract or journalist is a member of professional media organisations. There are two journalists' organisations in Latvia – Latvian Journalists' Association and the Latvian Union of Journalists. Their members are bound by their codes of ethics, which serve as a guide in a slippery situations that are becoming more common due to shortening the time for verification of news.

The tasks are given to the journalist by an editor whose editorial independence is protected by the Law on the Press. The editor represents the newsdesk in relationships with the publisher and other external parties and, with one exception, is responsible for all content published or broadcast.

The freedom of expression is not absolute: it is limited by lies, discrimination and intolerance, based on a person's belonging to a particular ethnic group, age or sexuality, national security considerations, the privacy of individuals and the specific situation of crimes against children.

Part of the restrictions on the journalists’ activities is laid down in the Criminal Law, the Civil Law, Law on the Protection of Children's rights, Personal Data Protection Law and other laws.

This guide explains the basics that journalists need to know.

Authors: Ieva Azanda, Ilze Jaunalksne, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård
Editor: Sanita Jemberga, The Baltic Centre For Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica
© Authors, Re:Baltica and the Centre for Media Studies at SSE Riga, Nordisk Journalistcenter, 2018

Latvian Legal Guide for Journalists in Latvian

0.54 MB, pdf

Latvian Legal Guide for Journalists in Russian

0.62 MB, pdf

Latvian Legal Guide for Journalists in English

0.56 MB, pdf

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