The publisher of Sirp, Toomas Väljataga, has claimed that Culture Minister Rein Lang was personally involved in purging a number of senior editors at the state-funded culture weekly.
Lang said on Tuesday that he had met with Väljataga and incoming interim editor in chief Kaur Kender just before the changes were publicly announced last week.
Lang told Eesti Päevaleht the meeting was solely to explore possible avenues of additional financing for the new-look Sirp, and that Väljataga had brought his editorial candidate Kender with him.
But Väljataga denied this in comments to Eesti Päevaleht today, saying that he was invited to a meeting with Lang and that when he arrived, Kender was there as well. Väljataga said the main topic at the meeting was the extent of severance pay for the four section editors who would be laid off - prominent opinion leader Marek Strandberg and the poet Doris Kareva among them.
Yesterday, music editor Tiina Mattisen announced she was leaving as well. Essay editor Valles-Sten Maiste had also announced he was stepping down before that.