Anti Poolamets appointed new EKRE public broadcasting supervisory board rep ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Anti Poolamets.
Anti Poolamets. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

The Conservative People's Party of Estonia's (EKRE) new supervisory board member at public broadcaster ERR will be MP Anti Poolamets.

Interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) confirmed Poolamets nomination to ERR Tuesday, following the departure of Urmas Reitelmann.

Poolamets has set as his mission statement ensuring the broadcaster adheres to the 2007 Public Broadcasting act, something which Reitelmann had said it does not do, and also the Estonian Constitution.

"National public broadcasting plays an important role in the preservation the Estonian people, language and culture," Poolamets said of his appointment.

"The broadcasting act states that public broadcasting must be monitored to ensure balance. Among other things the law also outlines that the public broadcaster's role is to value the family-based societal role model. The law also stresses the importance of balance during elections, and this would include the pre-referendum debate."

Poolamets was referring to a planned referendum on the defining marriage in the constitution, due to take place in spring.

A split in the coalition government last week was ostensibly resolved with a joint statement which brought the referendum forward to spring. EKRE, who got the requirement for the referendum into the April 2019 coalition agreement, before entering office, had wanted to hold the referendum concurrently with the fall 2021 local elections, something which critics had said would confuse the electorate and obscure local issues.

The referendum would likely ask a straight yes-no question as to whether marriage should be defined in the Estonian constitution as between one man and one woman. Currently the constitution makes no mention of marriage.

The coalition rift itself followed remarks by Mart Helme in the international media to the effect that gay people in Estonia would be better off living in Sweden, but which was seemingly resolved by last Thursday's joint statement.

However, within hours Urmas Reitelmann, Poolamets' predecessor, had posted on his social media account a claim that two ETV presenters were "sodomites" and at least two others were biased.

Reitelmann stepped down Monday after pressure to do so.

"Certainly for me an important theme is also the English language and the commercial invasion of TV channels," Poolamets went on.

"ERR shouldn't be run in line with private channel viewer preferences," he said.

With an academic background in the law and history, Poolamets has been an EKRE MP since the 2019 elections and sits on the foreign affairs committee and the EU committee.

ERR's supervisory board consists of one representative of each political party represented at the Riigikogu – currently five – plus three independent experts. It is headed up by Rein Veidemann, and is distinct from the management board.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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