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Arāja, Dita

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Blog Dita Arāja - Latvia | 06/08/2010

Newspaper takeover threatens Latvian press freedom

Latvian entrepreneur Viesturs Koziols has bought the majority stake in the Latvian daily Diena from the British Rowland family. Writing in her blog with the portal Politika, Dita Arāja fears politics will now hold sway over the paper: "Free and independent media have been pretty much snuffed out in Latvia with this move. The journalists now have the choice between working in an office run by a friend of Ainārs Šlesers [the right-wing candidate in the parliamentary elections] or deciding that things have just gone too far. ... When he was a minister Šlesers manipulated the postal charges and tried to damage Diena with his political influence. Now he has found a better method of securing control of the newspaper. Only shortly before the most recent elections his friend Koziols founded the magazine Republika, which was then closed down as soon as Šlesers became minister and had access to state funding."

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