Proposed Russian-language channel's budget slashed by a quarter (1)
In November, the Estonian cabinet put its seal of approval on the plan to create a new public Russian-language TV channel on Estonia Public Broadcasting (ERR). However, the originally proposed 3.56-million euro budget for 2015 has now been cut by 1 million.
According to the initial plan, 1.87 million euros was allocated to technology and 1.69 million euros to content creation.
However, the Finance Committee approved a change on Tuesday that leaves the new channel with a budget of 2.53 million euros; a million less than asked for.
The allocated sum includes one-off investments and funds for producing and airing programs in Russian.
Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus told ERR that at this stage they could not find more than 2.53 million euros of funding, and it is now up to ERR's board to decide how this money can be put to best use and which investments can be postponed until 2016.
According to the current plans, the new channel could launch at the earliest on September 1.
ERR's CEO Margus Allikmaa said they plan to start with two one-hour programs per day, plus news, and shows and films bought in from other producers.
"The budget should also accommodate a weekly socio-political program. If we do it, we do it properly. There is no point in running a poor man's channel; it would have no viewers," he said.