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Latvia Bans Russia's RT 'Propaganda' Channels

RT has previously come under scrutiny from foreign governments. Zuma / TASS

Latvia on Tuesday banned a number of Russia's RT television channels from being distributed in the Baltic state because of international sanctions against the head of the Russian state television network.

Latvia's media watchdog, the National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP), notably banned RT's main English-language broadcast service, its Spanish and Arabic counterparts, the RT Documentary channel, as well as the HD versions of the programs.

"These TV programs have been banned because they are controlled and managed by Dmitry Kiselev, who is under EU sanctions for repeated calls to violate Ukraine's democracy and territorial integrity," said NEPLP chairman Ivars Abolins.

"The ban will be permanent, unless Russia Today (the network's previous name) fires Kiselov and replaces him with a chief who is not on the EU sanctions list," he told AFP.

"Furthermore, RT is registered in Russia and since its inception in 2005 was an extension of the Kremlin's information policy and propaganda."

Abolins said the network had since been re-registered in Britain for broadcasts in the EU, and added that because of Brexit, "RT's registration is no longer valid."

The NEPLP had previously banned 10 other Russian television channels, including Rossiya RTR, for "systematic hate speech and warmongering against Ukraine, including open calls to kill Ukrainian citizens."

The NEPLP said in a statement that the decision would be implemented this week.

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