ERR Proposes 6.5 Million Euro Budget for Russian Language Channel ({{commentsTotal}})

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

Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) submitted a proposal to the the state to launch a Russian language channel with a maximum budget of 6.5 million euros, significantly beyond the 2.5 million euros initially floated.

ERR’s head Margus Allikmaa initially proposed 2.5 million euros for the channel, aimed at countering the influence of Russian channels with the local Russian-speaking population, Delfi reported today.

A special committee, empowered by the Ministry of Culture and led by the ministry’s Secretary General Paavo Nõgene, will receive the proposal today.

The proposal now includes 2.5 million euros for producing the basic program and additional funds for various shows selected from a list of suggestions by the committee, Allikmaa said. The final program will be forwarded to the government via the ministry.

The Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus formed the committee in mid-May in relation to the crisis in Ukraine and tasked it with putting together proposals for countering Russian state propaganda.

The 16-member committee includes media experts, historians, communication professors and head of the Narva College, as well as several Russian-speaking journalists and the head of ERR’s news department.

According to Allikmaa, the launch of a Russian-language channel requires a long-term political committment. Producing a few hours of programs daily would cost 2.5 million euros annually.

Specialists and local Russian-speaking journalists have highlighted that focusing on current events is not enough to sway the Russian minority - the new channel would also have to compete in entertainment.