The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Re:Baltica, has a new story examining the fate of the most popular local Russian language TV canal, Pervij Baltijskij Kanal (PBK, First Baltic Channel), which closed down its local news desks on March 20.
“That means that for a large part of population in Latvia and Estonia, where the Russian-speaking population watches PBK more than any of the local public broadcasters, their evening news are coming straight from Moscow now,” says Re:Baltica.
“PBK is the offspring of the similarly named television network in Russia which is co-owned by Yuriy Kovalchuk, an oligarch from Vladimir Putin’s circle whom the EU has put under sanctions for supporting the Kremlin’s policy to destabilize Ukraine. In December 2019, the Latvian State Security Service started a criminal investigation into a possible breach of EU sanctions by people closely related to [PBK holding company] Baltic Media Alliance,” says Re:Baltica.
Working with colleagues in Estonia, Lithuania and Russia, Re:Baltica probes the connection between Kovalchuk and BMA, and whether the enterprise will be able to survive this time if charges are brought against the owner and a request is made to repay a sum which is allegedly close to 10 million euros.
The full story is available to read in English at the Re:Baltica website .
So where should Russian speakers in Latvia turn for their news? We suggest they take a look at the LSM Russian service .