Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has recommended for Minister of Finance Martin Helme to stop ignoring questions asked by journalists from Delfi news portal and daily newspaper Eesti Päevaleht.
"I do not approve of this, it's not a good tactic," Ratas said at the government's press conference on Thursday, commenting on Helme once again not wishing to respond to a question by a journalist of Eesti Päevaleht.
Ratas said that if a media outlet has been accredited to participate in the government's press conference then "Juri [Ratas] and [Foreign Minister] Urmas [Reinsalu] but also Martin [Helme]" have the obligation to respond, regardless of whether or not they like the journalist or the media outlet they represent.
On August 13, Helme, who is also chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE), refused to answer a question for a Delfi's journalist at a government press conference.
The journalist asked the Minister of Finance and also the head of government about granting a loan for real estate development in Porto Franco, to which Helme replied that he would not give a reply to Delfi.
Helme called Delfi a portal producing bad quality news, which he does not read himself, and advised others not to do so.
"I don't think it's wise to answer your questions," Helme told the journalist.
On August 14, the Association of Media Companies (Meediaettevõtete Liit) sent a letter to Ratas complaining about the incident.
In the letter, the union expressed concern about the situation in the government, where ministers do not answer the questions of journalists accredited to the press conference, treat journalists and publishers arrogantly and spread lies for personal political gain.
Editor: Helen Wright