During the furore that has erupted over a leadership change at the culture weekly Sirp in the past week, some have questioned how influential the publication really is, given its low print circulation - 5,000. Former editor-in-chief Kaarel Tarand clocked its pull as the equivalent of six seats in Parliament.
"Sirp is not a marginal publication," he told ERR radio. "The print run of 5,000 is quite respectable by Estonian standards. Plus there's the Sirp online edition, which gives us a stable readership of 30,000. That's six seats in Parliament and people say they don't care? They don't care about six seats in Parliament?"
Tarand said civic society should not tolerate "state authority run amok." He said the government was setting a double standard. "They are evading the [publisher] Kultuurileht foundation's statute, which says clearly and without exception that the editor-in-chief is to be picked at public tender. If one such competition fails, the next one is held, until the editor-in-chief is found - not bring in some backdoor man," said Tarand, referring to the appointment of Kaur Kender as interim chief.
In regard to the public tender, chairman of the supervisory board of Kultuurileht Urmas Klaas told Postimees on Monday the next one would be held in the spring at the earliest.