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Russian-Language Channel Proposes Airing Estonian State Programming

Head of the Baltic Media Alliance Estonia, Irina Kozõrenko, said instead of setting up a state-run Russian-language channel, the government should instead use the funds to create programming which could be sold to PBK, the pan-Baltic Russian-language TV channel.

“We at PBK create TV with the aim of being the most popular channel among the Russian-speaking population,” she told Postimees, adding that is the Estonian state wants to offer something to Russian speakers, then they have a loyal audience ready.

Mart Luik, a ERR supervisory board member, said the proposal is not serious and it is not in Estonia's interest to produce content for a TV channel under the control of the Kremlin.

Ekaterina Taklaja, head of ERR's Russian-language online service, said in April that the Estonian government should buy airtime on PBK to combat Russian propaganda, saying it would be more effective than starting from scratch with a new outlet and trying to win over viewers.

In September, the Estonian government approved plans to set up a Russian-language TV channel under ERR, the Estonian public broadcasting company, although there is still a long way to go before the first shows are aired.

PBK is a Baltic-wide station, and has been fined by Latvian authorities for covering the Ukraine crisis with only information from the Russian side. Lithuania also temporarily shut down the station, citing its skewed version of the news.

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