Saturday, November 19, 2011

Garden path in what used to be a hospital.
November 19, 2111

Yesterday, besides writing my blog “November 18”, I also looked at a number of internet sites, one of which was

An article that drew my attention was by Anda Rozukalne called “Mediju eksperte uzteic….”
Translated into English, it means that “An expert on media praises the format of a new discussion program”. Ms Rozukalne  is a professor of journalism at the Latvian University in Riga.

Professor Rozukalne praises a new program on LTV1. The program is called “Sastregumstunda” (rough translation: TrafficJamHour) is to replace a discussion program that was taken off the air a half a year ago. Called “Kas notiek Latvijā?” (What is happening in Latvia?) the predecessor to “Sastregumstunda” was led by Janis Domburs, a self-confident, sometimes brash and presumptuous, television correspondent. I missed the opening broadcast, because I was at the Valmiera Theatre watching Tennessee Williams’ “Orpheus Descending” (see blog “November 17” above).

Professor Rozukalne judges the first program (led by Gundars Reders) successful, “because it breaks away from the hereto accustomed format of interviewing a closed circle of politicians and experts.” (My transl.)

Unfortunately, in this bloggers view, the as if wider circle of participants draws questions only from an audience of invited guests, these guests consisting for the most part of young students and an unknown quantity of people off the street. In other words, the television viewer at home has no idea whether the audience is a turkey for real or merely stuffed.

I posted a response to the Apollo article, arguing that a positive judgment for the program is premature. I also criticized the interview formats of Janis Domburs (show no longer), Karlis Streips (show no longer), and Egils Zarins (my apologies, I misspelled as “Zagars” what ought to have been “Zarins”), whose show “The Week” is still on.

After I posted my letter, the article soon disappeared. Not only did the article disappear from the head, but was never placed in the sidebar. The side bar is where older news is customarily placed. When I looked for the article in the Archives, it was there, but could not be opened. This morning it opened, but the article appeared without the letters column attached which customarily is.

Yesterday, the following correspondence between an editor at Apollo, Janis Krevics, and myself:

On Fri, 18 Nov 2011 +0200 "Eso" wrote:
Labdien Olina kungs! Ari Buntes kundze.
(My translation follows. Here writes Antons Benjamins.

I read with interest the article by Anda Rozukalne, re “A Media Expert Praises a New
LTV Discussion Program”. The article can be found at

I wrote a response to the Letters column. My thoughts were argumentative, because I write about the shortcomings of Latvian journalists. I mentioned the names of several journalists, some of who still work, some who no longer work in the Latvian media. I wrote under the pseudonym “zxzxs”’.
Shortly after my letter appeared in the Letters column, the article was removed from its headline position and could no longer be found in the side bar. When I discovered it in the Archives section, I could not open it, because apparently the editors had blocked access.
I would like to know why the article was blocked. Was it because of my letter? The article is noteworthy, unless of course criticism of any kind is interpreted as objectionable.

Thanking you in advance, Antons Benjamins
The response from Mr. Krevics. My translation:

Good day! The article you mention has neither been removed, nor is it lost, nor has it been censured… it continues at the site. Yes, it is now in the Archive, because the site uses current news, but older news, such as are not especially noteworthy, can be found in the archives. Wishing you success in your endeavours (Veiksmi darbos!), Apollo news editor Janis Krevics
To which I responded. My translation:

On Fri, 18 Nov 2011 +0200 "Eso" wrote:

Thank you, Mr. Krevics, for your response. Naturally, I do not know what you mean when you write “news not especially noteworthy”, because it is a subjective evaluation. It is generally accepted that all information that appears in public media is treated in the same routine fashion in order that there do not arise misunderstandings. Does a routine evaluation in fact show that Anda Rozukalne’s article is “news not especially noteworthy?” I will [therefore] continue to believe and say that the editors of Apollo treat their subjective judgements as objective in order to avoid the fact that censorship has occurred all the same. Have a nice evening.
The response from Mr. Krevics. My translation:
Hello once more! My explanation—all news cannot be highlighted—some are more essential, some less. Those (news) which are less essential, logically are replaced with newer news. If in your view the choice by the editor is censorship, it is your interpretation. In the name of the editors, I categorically deny your assumption that censorship has occurred. In any case, also your view is important to us! Thank you once more! Success! Janis Krevics
This morning, I looked for the article in Apollo’s Archives once more. It is there, and it was no longer blocked. However, the Letters column has been removed though it is custom to keep them attached with the article that they are in response to. Since the Letters contain my letter, I necessarily conclude that all editors of Apollo (Mr. Krevics speaks in their name) are engaged in censorship.
Former hospital in Aloja.
Original at Clone Village Notes, re

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