Mari Männiko, attorney for Ekspress Meedia, said on Tuesday that the group's journalists have no reason to appeal a recent circuit court judgment on whether it is permissible to publish pretrial proceedings materials as their fines were repealed.
The Circuit Court of Appeal repealed fines for two weekly Eesti Ekspress journalists that the first-tier court had ordered after the publication ran an article that included circumstances of criminal proceedings for which it had not sought authorization from the prosecution. At the same time, the court found that journalists, as persons not party to proceedings, need to seek a permit from the prosecution office if they wish to publish pretrial info.
Männiko said that she finds the circuit court's decision to be proportional.
"The court's judgment can only be based on the law. I find the decision proportional in that it has weighed the sides' interests and shows that journalists cannot be punished for what is a formal violation. That is what matters most in this case," the attorney said.
Männiko added that the law currently provides that proceedings materials can only be published with permission from the prosecution, whereas whether one likes it or not is another matter.
She said that the first instance court was too quick to order fines. "Even though the law provides the possibility, the circuit court clearly specified that punishments for journalists can only follow extraordinary and very significant circumstances. In this case, the prosecution has failed to elaborate on how proceedings were damaged, which is why the fines were overturned," the lawyer explained, adding that Eesti Ekspress sees no reason to appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court.
Editor: Marcus Turovski