Latvia: first private TV channel to close

LNT, Latvia's oldest private television company, will be shut down on 1 December after more than 20 years of broadcasting. The media company All Media Baltics wants to replace the station with an entertainment channel aimed at female audiences. All of the journalists on the LNT news desk will be laid off. Not all commentators are critical.

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Tvnet (LV) /

No money in news

In the opinion of website Tvnet the broadcaster's closure makes sense:

“The TV market is facing the same situation today as the print media were ten years ago. Back then the newspaper business collapsed because its centuries-old traditional source of revenues, advertising, was taken over by online media, Google and social networks. Now television is losing the battle against Netflix and Youtube. A new generation has grown up that doesn't watch television at certain times of the day and uses the internet and their phones instead. This is why LNT's owners are sacking their news service journalists and will focus on producing more entertainment programmes in future. Because for them what matters is profit. No one can earn enough money with news.”

Latvijas Avize (LV) /

Who will keep an eye on the politicians now?

Latvijas Avīze, by contrast, is saddened by LNT's demise:

“Viewers with years of TV experience are no doubt wondering whether all the important news has been reported and filmed, and whether television no longer needs to play a role in educating viewers about culture. ... Because in less than no time LNT is now to become a children's and women's channel. ... Both public and private TV channels presented a more or less objective image of reality. And the people with a microphone in their hands were professionals and fostered competition. Now news reports will be buried under fallen ruins and journalists will be robbed of their dreams. And the politicians' meanderings will no longer be commented on by LNT.”