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    EU Doesn't 'Accept Dissident Opinions' as Fear of Pro-Russian Media Rises

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    The opening of the Sputnik News Agency in Latvia has caused a political stir among Latvian politicians who said the agency would be quickly closed since it’s a Russian “propaganda tool.”

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    Amid all of this, Latvian politicians seem to forget all about free access to information, freedom of speech and freedom of press, usually so cherished in the European Union (EU).

    Roberts Zile, a Member of European Parliament (MEP) from Latvia, said he and his colleagues will find ways to close down Sputnik News Agency in Riga, calling it none other than a Russian "propaganda tool." The Latvian Security Police warned that they'd spend combing through each article in Sputnik to make sure it's safe for Latvians to read the agency's news.

    Some EU politicians were furious to find out the utterly undemocratic methods taken by the Latvian government against the news agency.

    "Freedom of speech and freedom of press are central values of the Western civilization. It's normal that media should have opportunities to work freely across the entire European continent," French politician and MEP Nicolas Bay told Sputnik.

    Bay, however, added that when it comes to Russia, the EU takes hypocritical measures under the pretext of countering Russian "propaganda."

    "I'm angered by the desire of some to infringe on freedom of press purely for political reasons," the French politician said.

    Bay's colleague Dominique Bilde, a fellow MEP, said the attempts of the Latvian government to close down Sputnik News Agency is an example of political "stagnation" within the EU and shows that European elites don't "accept any dissident opinions."

    Another MEP Bruno Gollnisch also criticized the Latvian government, stating that the state should have no say in this matter.

    "It is well-known that Sputnik was created specifically to broadcast Russia's point of view. We think that Latvians, who have a right to choose their own sources of information, should judge the quality of information provided by national and international media on their own," Gollnisch said.

    The European Parliament could have expressed its opinion on these issues, especially considering the nature of the problem — freedom of speech, a right to have free access to information and freedom of press. But this time, it's going to happen, Gollnisch said.

    Meanwhile, the Latvian government cannot or doesn't want to provide any information for its Russian-speaking population in their mother tongue.

    "Our role, as Latvian Russians, is absolutely not to express our opinion. Our role is to serve as a scarecrow to Latvian politicians who demonstratively show us to voters and NATO to keep themselves in power and receive money for the defense industry," Russian-speaking Latvian citizen Alexei Evdokimov said.

    Russians in Latvia make up 26 percent of the country's population, according to national statistics. Some 40 percent of those living in Latvia speak Russian. Latvia's only official language is Latvian.

    Related:

    Europe Cares Least About Freedom of Speech – Simonyan
    Tags:
    Freedom of Press, hypocrisy, double-standards, freedom of speech, Sputnik, European Union, Dominique Bilde, Nicolas Bay, Roberts Zile, Latvia
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