Trade unions

The first associations of press-related professionals appeared in the early 20th century. The first Congress of Baltic Journalists was held in Riga in 1909. The Latvian Association of Writers and Journalists was established in 1917. From the 1920s until the early 1940s, Latvian writers and journalists had a union which handled professional issues such as tariffs, working hours and copyright and protected the rights of its members. After the Soviet occupation, in 1959, the Soviet Latvian Journalists’ Union was established. In 1990, while Latvia was still formally a part of the USSR, the organisation dropped the word ‘Soviet’ from its title and became the Latvian Journalists’ Union.

The Union organises the ‘Journalism Hope’ awards for young professionals but public statements made about the organisation by media workers, experts and academics indicate that the organisation has no significant effect or influence. It cannot bring representatives of the profession together or defend their rights. The organisation has a code of ethics which concerns: the role of the media in society, the duties of journalists, the responsibilities of editors and editorial boards, relationships with authors, rules on publication and links between journalists and their audience. The document dates back to 1992, however, and has never been updated. This means that it is certainly out of date and carries little authority in the profession.