18:37 GMT25 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Rossiya Segodnya international news agency said on Friday that it qualifies Riga's actions against journalists working for the Sputnik Latvia and Baltnews outlets as a violation of freedom of speech, and plans to petition international organisations to address the issue.

    The agency slammed Riga after the Latvian State Security Service detained and questioned several journalists.

    "We believe that these actions by the Latvian authorities are nothing but another example of the violation of journalists' rights and the freedom of speech. We plan to send requests to every international and European organisation, as the situation should not go unanswered. Similar events enfolded in Estonia a year ago, when we were forced to cease employment relations with Sputnik Estonia staffers, under pressure from the authorities. They were threatened with criminal prosecution and up to three-years imprisonment", Rossiya Segodnya's press service stated.
    © Sputnik / Konstantin Chalabov

    Several Russian-speaking Latvian stringers who work with Sputnik and Baltnews, among other outlets, have been accused of breaking the EU sanctions. Their homes have been searched.

    This is not the first time Riga has targeted Sputnik journalists. In 2018, senior editor of Sputnik Latvia’s website, Valentins Rozencovs, was detained after his visit to Moscow. Facebook also later deleted his private account, as he was broadcasting a pro-Riga mayor rally. Addressing the issue, Sputnik's press service underlined that such situations have become a routine thing in Latvia and other Baltic States.

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