On October 12, the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate refused to initiate cassation proceedings in the case against SIA TV NET (TV NET) regarding the opinion piece published by TV NET about renting the National Opera premises for organizing a private event of a Russian artist on July 29, 2014. The Senate adopted such a decision as, having examined the arguments mentioned in the cassation appeal, the panel of senators had no obvious grounds to consider that the outcome of the case contained in the appealed judgment was incorrect, nor was the case relevant for ensuring uniform case law or further development thereof. Along with the decision of the Senate, the judgment of Riga Regional Court of June 10, 2021, by which the claim was rejected, came into force. The decision of the Senate cannot be appealed.

Previously, the Senate examined the case under cassation procedure on February 9 this year, when it annulled the judgment of Riga Regional Court of December 23, 2019, by which the claim was partially satisfied. The Senate indicated at the time that in assessing whether the limits of permissible criticism had been violated, the court had to find out the purpose for which certain words or phrases were used in the article, which the court had not done. The judgment does not pay attention to the genre of the disputed publication and the means of artistic expression used in the article (hyperboles, metaphors, etc.), expressing strong condemnation and criticism for renting a symbol of Latvian art and culture - the Great Hall of the Opera house - to a citizen of the Russian Federation for the organization of a private event - a birthday party - that took place in the specific factual circumstances.

On November 7, 2014, VSIA Latvian National Opera and Ballet (before the change of the name - Latvian National Opera) and three board members filed a claim in Riga City Vidzeme District Court against SIA "TV NET" for apology and recovery of non-material damage for insult of honour and dignity. The plaintiffs requested the court to impose an obligation on SIA TV NET to publish an apology for insulting the honour and dignity of VSIA Latvian National Opera and its three board members in the section Opinions/Commentaries of the Internet portal www.tvnet.lv, to recover material compensation for insulting the honour and dignity of 129,873 euros to VSIA Latvian National Opera and 1 euro to each plaintiff, as well as to recover legal costs and expenses related to the conduct of the case – for the payment of an advocate's assistance.

Case No SKC-1144/2021 (C30292615)

 

Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
Tel.: +371 67020396; e-mail: baiba.kataja@at.gov.lv