This article explores the relationship between accountability journalism and changing media markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), especially in the Baltic countries. Although there is agreement that news journalism is salient for vital democratic public spheres, there is a dearth of studies on the relationship between commercial success and media ownership. The comparative approach looks at CEE media systems as media laboratories where the overall tendencies of the media industry can often be seen in their most severe form. Against the common claim of cultural colonialisation caused by foreign ownership within the region, this article argues that in the case of CEE societies, foreign ownership can be beneficial for accountability journalism by enabling journalists to secure the required distance from local political and economic interests. The article approaches the ownership/democracy equation by comparing the structural tendencies of the region, using Latvia as its case study. The data consist of media ownership and readership data, and specialist interviews.