The anchor of the Russian-language version of the country's top evening news program, ETV's Aktuaalne Kaamera, says Estonia should follow Lithuania's lead and turn off Russian TV channels if they spread war propaganda.
Maksim Rogalski told rus.err.ee in an interview today: "The goals for NTV, RTR Planets and PBC are clear. They incite military tendencies through war propaganda and immerse the public in lies. I feel that Lithuania's desire to protect its citizens from this toxin is normal and justified. I think it's the right path and Estonia should follow its neighbor's example."
The anchor said "imperialistic propaganda" was the order of the day in the content transmitted by channels in both Lithuania and Estonia. He said there were some exceptions, such as the online Dozhd, and RTV, but added that there were few.
"The Russian community in Lithuania is much smaller than it is in Estonia - only 5-6 percent. And Lithuania's Russians are more willing to speak Lithuanian than Estonia's Russians are to speak Estonian. Thus Lithuania has an opening to protect its citizens."
He said freedom of speech did not cover misinformation on an unprecedented scale. "Restrictions are in the interests of the people's health. Certain restrictions are justified. While we mumble about democracy, hostile propaganda has done its work."
He said a homegrown alternative had to be found to what he termed Russian propaganda channels.
"It's better late than never," he said. "Estonia has long had a chance to establish a Russian-language TV channel, but nothing has been done, because politicians felt they didn't have to do it. "And at the level of ERR, Estonian Public Broadcasting, no one's really ever been interested in the question. I think that's a mistake. As a result we have hundreds of thousands whose heads are poisoned with propaganda."
Under a court decision in Lithuania, broadcasting has been suspended for three months at NTV Mir, the BBC reported today, with Rossiya and Pervyi possibly facing similar decisions.