Media Policy Guidelines of Latvia 2016-2020 and Implementation Plan
Media policy guidelines are aimed at creating favourable conditions for the operation of the media in providing and developing media diversity, improving education for media professionals, increasing the quality of the environment and accountability of media, promoting media literacy and development of safe media environment for individuals and society. Policy lines of action are: 1. Diversity of media environment, 2. Quality and accountability of media environment, 3. Education of media professionals, 4. Media literacy, 5. Securitability of media environment. Latvian media policy basis is determined by the Article 100 of the Constitution: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression which includes the right to freely receive, keep and distribute information and to express their views. Censorship is prohibited." This area is currently governed by two basic laws: the Law On the Press and Other Mass Media (1990) and the Electronic Mass Media Law (2010). The media is a resource of forming public opinion, values, identity and social memory. In exercising freedom of expression and diversity of opinion, media is important to a democratic system. Nevertheless, Latvia has so far not had unified and purposeful media policy planning. There are several levels of media industry legislation (national and European legislation), but Latvian media environment has not so far been developed from a securitability and sustainability perspective. However, it is regarded as one of the issues of information environment in the Guidelines of National Identity, Civil society and Integration Policy for 2012-2018. Media environment on a global and local level is rapidly changing, determined by technological progress, convergence and changes in public thinking. Some of these processes may result in risks to the national cultural environment, language and diversity of media environment. Consequently, the need to develop a forward-looking, smart and sustainable media policy is urgent.
The target groups of media policy are: media professionals and media owners; information and communications technology professionals; employees within education system employees; communication and media studies program developers and students; diaspora; municipalities; media users; media and their audience researchers; law enforcement bodies. One of the lines of action in media policy is the "Diversity of media environment” which is fully in line with the aims of the Convention to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions. It is planned to implement activities that focus on media diversity. It also refers to the principle of sustainable development. Particular attention is given to the press as a form of culture preservation. Media policy planning documents express support for the 1st Guiding Principle of the Convention respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Media policy principles emphasize freedom of expression, as well as prohibition of discrimination. Media policy planning document content is in tune with the principle of equal access - it is planned to provide support for socially significant content creation for people with disabilities, as well as diaspora audience - is planned that the competition for funding will be open to the media, regardless of their platform, including Internet media. Similarly, the guidelines include a reference not only to the significance of the media content in Latvian language, but also to the Latvian media in minority languages, which is important for the Latvian culture and socio-political environment.
Two media policy results expected: 1)Latvian media environment diversity saved; 2)Media literacy level in the society grown.
Within the allocated budget. Additional funding necessary from the state budget (the exact amount will be known after the media policy planning document final draft will be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers).