Allar Jõks: Estonia needs unaffected, free discussion, not self-censorship

Former Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks.
Former Chancellor of Justice Allar Jõks. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Does Estonia deserve a coalition who considers public health more important than a marriage referendum, former Chancellor of Justice and lawyer Allar Jõks asks.

The head of the emergency situation Urmas Sule has said about mask-deniers that democracy allows people to be dumber than average. I would add that this assessment might not only be suitable for those against masks.

Pointing out the legal shortcomings of the government's order to wear masks brought complaints last week that the defenders of a state of law do not care for public health and have turned to advocates for anti-maskers.

Without delving into the topic, the sentences "there is no legal basis to establish a mask-wearing obligation" and "do not wear a mask because it does not defend you against anything" were made equal in (social) media.

Should we set the bar of stating an opinion at the lowest possible capable person going forward?

In that case, we should not even be able to express our opinion. Because there will always be people who understand it differently to the author.

I do not want Estonia to turn into a country where a justice chancellor can no longer perform their duties because someone might understand them falsely. The last days confirm that there are many who hope for that exact thing to happen.

At a time where there is at least one party in government who wants to limit freedom of speech, Estonia especially needs unaffected and free discussion. Not Estonians who have agreed to self-censorship.

In the opposite case, we might soon discover ourselves in a society where pointing out the shortcomings of leadership is equal to sin and freedom of speech means freedom in words. And there would be no independent professional who would protect us from it.

A justice chancellor would break their oath of office if they would not make proposals to improve laws against the spread of virus.

According to the Riigikogu's legislative majority, there will be no third wave following the second wave. Inadequate standards and conflicting communication lessen the trustworthiness of government measures and make the battle of front line health care workers, police officers and local government more difficult.

For example, an authorization norm that is used to justify the mask-wearing directive, allows the government to do what they consider right. Among other things, also create a corona-camp.

The fragile legal basis for mask-wearing is justified by saying "you cannot predict everything in life".

I could agree with it if Toompea were to suffer from extraordinary workload and time constraints. But it is the opposite. Most of the government's energy is spent on a marriage-themed referendum. Does Estonia deserve a coalition who considers public health more important than a marriage referendum?


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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