Journalist Says Intelligence Official Should Not Have Attended Planning Session for Public Russian-Language Channel (1)
Jevgenia Garanža, head of the Russian newsroom of the daily Postimees, said she agrees there is demand for a new Russian channel but that including a security official in the brainstorming committee was a mistake as it suggested the prospective public channel could be less than independent.
Garanža told ETV in a live interview on Monday that there was a need for a Russian language channel because people who are used to watching television - currently dominated by Russian Federation-based broadcasters that have been criticized as propagandistic - will not switch to radio and the Internet to get information.
She said it was a mistake to include the vice director general of the Internal Security Service (ISS) Eerik Heldna in the discussion because while hostile propaganda needs to be countered, the inclusion of a defense official in the creation of the channel would violate the principles of free journalism.
Garanža said she thinks that the new channel should be not focus just on Estonian or Baltic matters, but at a European level. Approximately 2.5 hours of local programming a day would be a good start, she said.
The prospective programming service should include news and discussion programs, analysis and summaries on weekends and films and programs on life in Estonia, but also Latvia, Lithuania and Finland, Garanža said.
Garanža said the discussion about setting up a channel usually comes up during a major domestic or an international crisis and then subsides. But she expressed hope the plan will be implemented this time.