The Latvian courts have upheld a journalistic website’s right to report on stories of widespread money laundering. The Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism, otherwise known as Re:Baltica , is a celebrated non-profit organisation of journalists in Latvia that produces pieces of investigative journalism for free.
Award-winning journalist Inga Springe is the founder of Re:Baltica - The Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism, based in Riga, Latvia. We worked with Inga when Re:Baltica was sued for defamation in 2012. Here she describes what drives her and how she hopes to bring socially-responsible journalism back to Latvia.
Irina Kostina is a Senior Associate at LAWIN, the largest legal firm in the Baltics. With funding from MLDI, Irina defended The Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism when it was sued for defamation in 2012. Here she describes the case and what attracts her to media law.
"In the end, the politician who sued me was very unhappy because not only had he lost the case but the story had been retold over and over again in the press. My main victory – if you could call it that – is that he wasn’t re-elected to the European Parliament. I don’t think that’s 100 per cent down to my story but I do feel there’s at least one brick in the wall put there by me."
Latvian journalists Inga Springe and Nellija Locmele are fighting hard to keep media freedom alive in their country. Despite recent successes in court, legal threats remain and MLDI’s support is vital to these media outlets.
When Latvia’s leading newspaper was sold to faceless businessmen, its journalists resigned en masse and set up the independent magazine IR. We talked to editor-in-chief Nellija Locmele about the birth of IR and the controversial legal cases we’re now helping it to win.
The Mayor of Riga, Nils Usakovs, has lost his libel case against the Latvian weekly, IR. The case had been brought in 2012 in response to a comment by IR journalist, Aivars Ozoliņš, that the Riga City Council was a “kleptocracy”.
Linda Birina is one of Latvia’s leading media lawyers. We’re proud to be supporting her in her defence of some of the country’s most prominent investigative journalists. Here she describes what appeals to her about media law.
In Latvia, MLDI supports investigative journalist and whistle-blower Leonids Jakobsons in a criminal trial involving a powerful politician and the right to information. The case will set a precedent. The journalist is potentially facing a sentence of three years and a penalty which would mean personal bankruptcy.
The past twelve months have seen strong results for the journalists we defended but also a decline in respect for freedoms overall. MLDI's work this year, more than ever, has proven to be crucial in securing journalists' ability to report freely worldwide.