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Latvian Television Channel Fined for Showing State-Run Russian TV Broadcasts

Latvia's mass media council ruled to fine the First Baltic Channel for its broadcasts of Russia's Channel One television station.

A Latvian television station showing broadcasts of a Russian state-run channel has been fined 3,600 euros ($4,500) for its "one-sided, biased coverage" of events in Ukraine, a news report said Friday.

Latvia's mass media council ruled Thursday to fine the First Baltic Channel for its broadcasts of Russia's Channel One television station, taking into account that it had previously been fined for similar offenses, online news site Delfi cited the Baltic News Service as saying.

No further details were disclosed on which programs were considered to be biased.

Russia's state-run television channels have repeatedly come under fire since the start of the Ukraine conflict in the spring, with many Western journalists and leaders accusing them of flat-out propaganda.

Channel One, in particular, prompted harsh criticism for apparently trying to present the Polish-Ukraine border as the Ukraine-Russia border in an earlier broadcast about swarms of Ukrainians fleeing to Russia.

It also broadcast in July a newscast on the supposed crucifixion of a 3-year-old boy that invoked a backlash from opposition politicians and journalists, who claimed the report was falsified.

Ukraine itself has severely restricted broadcasts of Russia's state-run television channels over claims that the reports contain intentional inaccuracies and Kremlin propaganda.

In addition to Latvia's First Baltic Channel getting hit with a fine Thursday, a Latvian radio station was also fined for what the media regulator perceived as biased reporting.

"Autoradio Rezekne" was ordered to pay 700 euro ($885) fine for the same offense, Delfi cited the Baltic News Service as reporting.

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