Proposal to Add Ministry Rep to ERR Board Criticized
Concerned that Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) is not running tight enough a financial ship, the Finance Ministry last week proposed that a Ministry of Culture representative be added to the supervisory board. But a member of the opposition argues that the move would tilt the political balance toward the ruling party.
The current board consists of four media experts and one representative from each of the four major parliamentary parties.
Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi and Culture Minister Rein Lang have commented on lack of ministerial oversight regarding the organization, which is editorially independent from the government but is in the Culture Ministry's area of administration.
With the State Budget Act currently under discussion, Ligi said last week that ERR "lacked a master."
On Monday, Jaak Allik, a Social Democratic MP known as a theater director, said the move would threaten ERR's independence. "If our finance minister's words that ERR lacks a master are translated into English and it wants the Culture Minister's representative to be the master, Estonia will be scorned by the European Broadcasting Union."
"The culture minister's party [Reform] would get two votes on the board. That decision would mean that we can throw out much of the current Public Broadcasting Act and talk about throwing ERR's political independence into the garbage."