Search

 

Cablegate: Latvia: Journalists, Editor Leave Latvia's Leading Daily

VZCZCXRO8188
OO RUEHIK
DE RUEHRA #0510 2860649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130649Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6092
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS RIGA 000510

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: ECON PHUM KPAO LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA: JOURNALISTS, EDITOR LEAVE LATVIA'S LEADING DAILY
1. SUMMARY: The editor-in-chief of Latvia's leading daily newspaper
Diena and several other journalists resigned on Oct. 9 after
learning that the company's new owner is a wealthy family from Great

Britain. The editors had been locked in a standoff with the
company's CEO, Alexandrs Tralmaks, since his company purchased the
newspaper publisher in July. The departing journalists are expected
to reconstitute themselves in a new media outlet. Uncertainty about
the future of Diena, most independent, and objective news outlet,
and its editorial independence remain. END SUMMARY
2. On Friday, Nellija Nocmele, editor in chief of the publishing
house Dienas mediji, and Anita Brauna, editor in chief of its
primary newspaper, 'Diena, submitted their resignations along with a
dozen journalists. Among those who left the paper were several
senior reporters and the American-born Pauls Raudseps, the paper's
editorial page editor and one of its founders. In an online blog set
up after the resignation, the journalists cited "serious differences
regarding the future of the newspaper" as their main reason for
leaving.

3. The Bonnier group, which owned the publishing enterprise for 19
years, announced on July 3 that it had sold the publisher to the
Luxembourg-based Nedela S.A., led by Aleksanders Tralmaks, a former
CEO of Diena. At that time, Tralmaks did not identify the
investors in the new management company, raising questions about the
motivation for the purchase, and concerns that the new owners would
try to exercise influence over the editorial policy of Latvia's most
respected newspaper. In September, the Editors publicly told
Tralmaks that they would resign unless the names of the investors
were fully disclosed.

4. Tralmaks announced on Friday that a wealthy British family, The
Rowlands, had become the primary owners. According to reports, the
Rowland family had previously provided a loan so Tralmaks' company
Nedela S.A. could buy the newspapers, but the loan has been
restructured to show the Rowland family as owners. The
announcement, however, did not satisfy the departing journalists.

5. After leaving the newspaper, the editors, and several journalists
met at a nearby coffee shop to discuss their future. No
announcements have been made, but it is widely believed that the
editors and journalists have discussed forming a new media outlet.

6. COMMENT: While Latvian newspapers enjoy freedom from government
interference, their editorial policies and reporting tend to be
heavily influenced by owners. Diena, however, has a reputation for
being Latvia's most independent, and objective news outlet. The
sale of the paper and the subsequent departure of so many of its
leaders raise concerns that the newspaper will lose its independent
voice, or its good reputation. Since the purchase, the editors have
kept their editorial freedom, often criticizing Tralmaks on their
opinion pages. Whether that freedom will continue into the future
is unclear. END COMMENT

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Palestinian Ministry of Health: Developments In The Health Situation During The Israeli Aggression On The Cities & Governorates Of The Gaza Strip
For the second day in a row, the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip continues by targeting overcrowded residential areas and neighborhoods, as the death toll rose to 13 citizens, including a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman... More>>


UN: Horn Of Africa Faces Most ‘Catastrophic’ Food Insecurity In Decades, Warns WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday that the Greater Horn of Africa is experiencing one of the worst famines of the last 70 years... More>>

FAO: Warns 90 Per Cent Of Earth’s Topsoil At Risk By 2050
A full 90 per cent of the Earth’s precious topsoil is likely to be at risk by 2050, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO...
More>>


Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>



Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>