Journalist Says Local Russian-Language Media Fairly Unbiased on Ukraine Coverage

Raadio 4's Ivan Makarov. (ERR)
8/13/2014 10:25 AM
Category: Society

Estonia's Russian-language media provides diverse coverage of the Ukraine events, while Estonian journalists can be faulted "in a good way" for bias, says a journalist for one of ERR's Russian-language services.

Ivan Makarov of Raadio 4 said on the Uudis+ program that in 2007, during riots in Tallinn over the relocation of a Soviet-era statue, the Estonian Russian-language media tended to do more incitation, but the current situation is "fairly objective."

The Russian-language Delfi site and Postimees daily's corresponding outlet publish stories from different sources, with few in-house opinions, Makarov said.

The media outlets air a large number of positions from Estonian politicians, such as the prime minister and foreign minister, political scientists and social scientists and experts.

Retired general Ants Laaneots is a popular commenter on events in the Russian-language media, he said.

An example of positive bias, said Makarov, was an exchange set off by an article by Margarita Kornõševa in Eesti Päevaleht daily, which criticized Estonian journalists for being too biased toward Ukraine.

It was followed by a rebuttal from a writer, Rein Ruutsoo, who accused Kornõševa of a crypto-Russian mindset.

Makarov said of the combined effect: "You can't be neutral when one country attacks another, when people are killed. It is completely normal that the Estonian media is not neutral in a certain good way in commenting on the original article.

"We are on the side of the ones being attacked and killed, whose flags are burned, whose language is scorned."

Makarov said the information that makes it into the Russian-language media is balanced and presents positions and interpretations from different sides.

Only on occasion, Makarov said, did he notice a leading question from a Den za Dnyom interviewer, where the journalist used the term "novorossia" to refer to Donetsk and Luhansk, mirroring use of the term by Putin's circle.


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