Riga, Oct 28, 2015
H.E. Edgars Rinkevičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
H.E. Nancy Bikoff Pettit, Ambassador of the United States
H.E. Sarah Cowley, Ambassador of the United Kingdom
Latvia’s Journalists Association would like to draw your attention to the unacceptable lies about Latvia’s journalist Mike Collier by the author of the exhibition “People of Maidan” which, according to the public reports, has been supported by the Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr Collier has worked as a journalist for 20 years, including several years each with the BBC and the UK Press Association. He is based in Latvia since 2007, working for news wires DPA and AFP. He have been editor of the English-language service of Latvian public broadcaster, LSM.lv, since 2014.
On Oct 8, 2015, Mr Collier published an article on the LSM.lv website about discrepancies of the story of the author of ‘People of Maidan”, US citizen, Mr Sergey Melnikoff http://www.lsm.lv/en/article/societ/society/second-arrest-but-questions-linger-over-maidan-exhibition.a149215/. In terms of journalistic standards, the story is impeccable.
However, after that the rumours began to spread over internet and social networks that Mr Collier is in fact Mr Modest Kolerov, ex-employee of Kremlin and persona non grata in Latvia. The story would be funny, if it was not so absurd. However, now it is traceable back to the author of the exhibition, Mr Melnikoff ( http://ipvnews.org/)
We find it unacceptable that Latvia’s Foreign Ministry, an institution representing the country, let’s itself being associated with this kind of behaviour. It is not acceptable to make groundless allegations against journalists who are just doing their job according to standard professional practice. This is exactly what is happening here.
In the name of the LJA board
Chairman of the Board GSM. + 371 29118853