The Estonian state is to provide support totaling a million euros to private media Russian-language publications in Estonia, with the aim of providing balanced content in that language. Content so supported may not be paywalled or otherwise incur a fee to readers.
The funding totals €1,000,000, while grants to any one entity are capped at €300,000. The minimum grant available is worth €10,000, and there is no self-financing component required.
The Ministry of Culture issued the regulation setting up the funding at the culture minister's request, while the regulation is now going for its coordination and opinion rounds.
The regulation's explanatory memorandum states that the project will aid Estonian independent private media to create and transmit journalistic content which balances the Russian-language information space and shapes a common media sphere, in so doing supporting the cohesion of Estonian society.
Grants will strengthen the editorial offices of existing private Russian-language publications in Estonia, and also help to make the content of Estonian Russian-language journalism more professional and diverse.
Media content produced and published using the support, including original news, must also be made available to the public free of charge, under the regulation's terms.
Applicants should be private legal entities registered in Estonia and which already publish media and which as of May 1 this year already had both Estonian and Russian-language editorial offices, and also are Estonian journalism code of ethics-compliant.
Local government or its agencies may not be involved in the project and may not be owners or shareholders of any publication (many local governments including in Tallinn produce their own free newspapers in Estonian and Russian – ed.), while eligible organizations may not take more than 50 percent of their revenue from local government.
The eligibility period for the support is for one year, January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.
State support was provided to public broadcaster ERR in respect of its Russian-language portal, and to a lesser extent its English-language news, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.
Editor: Andrew Whyte