There is an old joke that upon seeing an elephant, an Estonian’s greatest concern is what the elephant thinks of the Estonian. There is no cause for alarm and there are no elephants around either, but as Tallinn University happens to host a number of journalists from various countries at the same time as the Opinion Festival is held, we used the opportunity to ask about their perceptions of Estonia.
Estonia through the eyes of foreign journalists Journalists from Tanzania, Kenya, Mongolia, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia visited Estonia and participated in the Opinion Festival 2016. The discussion was moderated by Andres Jõesaar.
They expressed their opinion that Estonia is a wonderful country and other countries could learn great deal of things from us. Eight foreign journalists got together in Paide to talk about their views in a discussion circle, on topics like Estonia - closely on e-Estonia, our political image, and how our country hasn’t marketed itself enough; media today and USA’s presidential elections.
Journalists were very fond of our country. They’ve been here for almost a week now and visited different sites and places. They said that Estonian people are unique as they take things at a simple, personal level. It came out when they had a change to meet some of our politicians, such as the chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Sven Mikser and the Minister of Entrepreneurship, Ms. Liisa Oviir.
They also pointed out that the difference between Estonia and other countries, like Tanzania, Kenya, Mongolia is that in our country the chance to meet with our political representatives is easier, the relationship itself is fundamentally different from their countries communication level.
The subject of image of Estonia in the world, and how we seem to others came up in the panel. Journalists said that Estonia has so many ways how to enter world-markets except IT field, but as said Mr. L. Erdene from Mongolia: “Governments can come to Estonia to learn successful e-governance, and how to use internet as a communication tool between citizens and politicians.” At the same time the journalist from Kenya doesn’t see the influence of the internet so good, because in their country after the wave of internet, other media channels are losing their success.
Also journalist touched political subject on the level of women in politics. They see that Estonia can be an example in this field, as our presidential election has a female candidate, also two of our ministers are female.
Opinion Festival, is held annually at Paide, is a meeting place for the whole community, that gives a change to express our thoughts and views on political level. The mission of the festival is to improve opinion culture and civic education. The festival “doors” are open to all active-minded people in Estonia as well as elsewhere, who together would like to discuss issues that are important for all of us.
Editor: Allan Rajavee, Marju Himma