Major Estonian national daily Õhtuleht has restricted comments to subscribers-only, making it a paid commentary, and has not ruled-out withdrawing the facility altogether.
"Now only those who have an active newspaper subscription can comment on our web page," Õhtuleht's editor-in-chief Martin Šmutov explained, according to ERR's online news in Estonian.
Šmutov has also not ruled-out closing comments altogether, citing abusive or threatening comments as the factor.
"I don't think that any other solution would ensure a portion of what the commentary was created for in the first place," Šmutov went on, saying that Õhtuleht's solution was the first of its kind in online media in Estonia.
"Maybe searching for that ideal is fruitless nowadays, but we're going to attempt to do so once more. Barring total comments closure, this is the highest threshold which we can establish and is one that hasn't been tried in Estonia before."
"Though we considered several options, for me, a particular story in [daily] Postimees story tipped the decision, where an opening comment expressed regret that the journalist had not died in the process of writing the story," Šmutov continued.
"This demonstrated that comments may be personalized or registered, but this does not make any difference to their content," Šmutov continued, in his rationale for the Õhtuleht decision.
Editor: Roberta Vaino