ERR Staff Back Kaljuveer and Tomberg, Suggesting Deeper Organizational Rift ({{commentsTotal}})

ERR Chairman Margus Allikmaa
ERR Chairman Margus Allikmaa Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

ERR staff have readied two letters to support the sacked sports chief Marko Kaljuveer and board member Hanno Tomberg, who resigned in protest.

ETV editor in chief Heidi Pruuli said chief executive Margus Allikmaa is being influenced by sport associations, who wanted more coverage on ERR. She said decisions on what to air on ETV had to be made by ERR specialists.

Kaljuveer was sacked on Tuesday, being accused of not cultivating good relations with sports associations and preferring more popular sporting events, including the football World Cup and the Tour de France. Tomberg said that as the board member responsible for sports, he approved many of the decisions taken by Kaljuveer, and resigned in protest.

Postimees daily said the Tour de France coverage was a bone of contention. Kaljuveer wants to show not only a broad palette but also focus on sports where Estonians - Rein Taaramäe in 2012, in the case of cycling - are vying for top spots. The Tour de France rights contract ended up costing much more than ERR had bargained for, said the daily.  

ERR's sports department is gathering signatures to petition the minister of culture, saying the real reason behind the sacking was Allikmaa's personal disdain for Kaljuveer.

In a separate letter, mid-level managers at ERR, including editor in chiefs, said they will petition ERR's supervisory board to resolve the conflict. The supervisory board has called an emergency meeting for next week. 

ERR, Estonia's public broadcasting company, operates two TV channels, a number of radio stations and news websites, including ERR News, and other media outlets. The company employes 650 people around the country and internationally.