Rakvere city government rejects EKRE billboard

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While the Haljala rural municipality has green-lit a billboard containing electoral advertising for the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), authorities in the town of Rakvere will not do the same regional Virumaa newspaper reports. The party may take the Rakvere city council to court over the matter.

The billboard in in Haljala measures eight meters by five meters, and is situated next to the main Tallinn-Narva road.

The town of Rakvere has said that the reason for its refusal lies in the provisions of the Advertising Act, and their bone of contention is the national flag of Estonia being depicted on the poster.

Marju Puumets from the Rakvere town government said in her response to EKRE, rejecting the request to permit installing the poster, that one of the objectives of the Advertising Act is to prevent misleading campaigns. The party's poster was designed by the wife of an EKRE MP and depicts the blue-black-and-white flags, which, Rakvere authorities say, is incompatible with subsection four of section four of the law in question.

"The purpose of subsection four is to prevent misleading advertising; the use of the Estonian flag conveys a misleading notion that the state recommends to opt for the product being advertised or guarantees this product in a certain way," Puumets said.

EKRE MP Anti Poolamets rejected this argument, saying, via a spokesperson, that: "This is an incompetent decision, and unless the town government reviews it, we're taking the matter to the administrative court."

"If officials are incapable of telling the difference between a party and a product sold at a store, they should go back to school as quickly as possible. We cannot rule out this being bullying for political reasons, because we were also in a months-long dispute with the town government over the labeling of our office in Rakvere, where the town government was finally forced to give in," Poolamets' statement went on, BNS reports.

Poolamets also recommended the Rakvere town government to take a look at other parties' earlier posters, claiming that all of the parties had either depicted the Estonian flag or its color combination.

Electioneering is getting underway ahead of the October 17 municipal polls, while an earlier law which forbade outdoor advertising hoardings from around six weeks before polling day has now been lifted.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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