Opinion makers

The top audience of blogs in autumn 2016 was 193,500 users. Of the top 20 blog users 60 percent were women. The most visited blog was Kristaps Skutelis’ technology blog Kursors.lv (31,600 users in November 2016). Second was Inga and Ēriks Dalibs’ folk wisdom blog Innu.lv and third was Ance Šternberga’s healthy lifestyle and treatment blog Topivesels.lv.

Jānis Polis’s blog Ardomu.lv caused a great stir in December 2016 when it published a study on Internet propaganda in Latvia – what was hidden behind Facebook pages and websites popular in Latvia.

In 2013 and 2014 actor Artuss Kaimiņš’ programme Suņu Būda (Doghouse) on the Internet radio station Boom FM drew a huge audience. Various well known personalities were interviewed in the studio. The merciless and at times course interviewing technique, although controversial, was, at the same time, key to the show’s popularity. The most popular broadcast recordings on YouTube have had over 170,000 views. Artuss Kaimiņš was elected to parliament in 2014 from the Latvian Association of Regions party. He continues to film goings-on in the Saeima and publishes them on his video blog Sunubuda.tv.

Undoubtedly his popularity was aided by the programme he led. Media researcher and expert Anda Rožukalne points out that already as a candidate deputy, Kaimiņš continued to agitate and host his programme. Because Boom FM is not registered with the Media Register and does not use a Latvian frequency (it is only available online), according to the strict application of the Law on the Press and other Mass Media, it is not regarded as a medium. A working committee within the Ministry of Culture  is currently drafting a new media regulation project, which should be finished by the end of 2018. Some of the problematic issues that will have to be resolved are tied to the notion of media and the definition of a journalist.