7. Re:Baltica website, Latvia
Re:Baltica – the Baltic Centre for Investigative Journalism – is an independent non-profit media platform in Latvia, dedicated to high quality journalism. It was founded in 2011 by award-winning journalist Inga Springe, and encourages transparency and reform by reporting in-depth on socially important issues all over the Baltic region.
In its first year Re:Baltica republished an article by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) about international money-laundering. A businessman who was mentioned in the article brought charges against Re:Baltica for defamation, demanding $40,000 in compensation.
“When I heard about the case I was overwhelmed,” said Inga. “With this kind of case, often the big guys suing don’t care if they win in the end. They just want to damage the lives of journalists. They know we have to find money for lawyers and find time for going to court. It’s very hard.”
MLDI part-funded Re:Baltica’s lawyer, Irina Kostina from law firm Lawin, and provided international case law to help build arguments for the legal defence. “When Irina started helping us I wasn’t worried anymore,” Inga remembers. The courts ruled in favour of Re:Baltica in May 2014 and, following an appeal, the case was finally closed in March 2015, finding in Re:Baltica’s favour. The non-profit media platform is now in its eighth year, publishing in both Latvian and English.