07:21 GMT04 July 2020
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    RIGA (Sputnik) - The Latvian National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP) said Tuesday that it was banning seven RT channels, suggesting that they are owned by Dmitry Kiselev, who is under EU sanctions, although he has nothing to do with RT and is head of another media, Rossiya Segodnya international information agency.

    The NEPLP banned RT, RT HD, RT Arabic, RT Spanish, RT Documentary HD, RT Documentary, RT TV.

    The Latvian watchdog intends to urge media regulators in other EU countries to also ban RT, the watchdog chair, Ivars Abolins, said.

    The RT editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, has slammed the Latvian intelligence services for their incompetence following the decision of the country's media watchdog to ban seven RT channels.

    "Latvian intelligence believes that RT is headed by Dmitry Kiselev. American intelligence believes that a REN-TV show, which I hosted in 2011, influenced the US [presidential] election [in 2016]. UK intelligence believes that Skripals [former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia] were poisoned by [Russian nationals Ruslan] Boshirov and [Alexander] Petrov. And this is good news. With such intelligence we are not afraid of the grey wolf," Simonyan wrote on her Telegram channel.

    RT's press service also commented on Latvia's move, ironically "congratulating" the country's intelligence and the NEPLP for that after banning the RT channels they would be able to "protect" all its Arabic- and Spanish-speaking people from "the most influential Russian propagandist broadcaster."

    Rossiya Segodnya Director-General Dmitry Kiselev, in his turn, said that Latvia’s explanation of its decision lacks credible information.

    "This decision shows the level of stupidity and lack of knowledge of the Latvian authorities, blinded by Russophobia. We sincerely laughed at this announcement, as the Latvian authorities are simply wrong. But seriously, their reason for the ban has no legal meaning, therefore Latvia should immediately allow RT to operate and apologize to our colleagues," Kiselev said.

    Kiselev is the director-general of Rossiya Segodnya, while RT's editor-in-chief is Margarita Simonyan, who is not under any EU sanctions. These companies are two different legal entities. The information about their legal status is open to the public.

    Latvia and some of the neighbouring countries have repeatedly put obstacles to the work of Russian media. The Russian Foreign Ministry has remarked that they appear to have a coordinated policy.

    Tags:
    ban, Dmitry Kiselev, RT, watchdog, Latvia
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