Interior minister does not support TTJA's media monitoring proposal

A selection of Estonian newspapers and magazines.
A selection of Estonian newspapers and magazines. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Neither Minister of Interior Lauri Läänemets (SDE) nor the Ministry of Culture's media adviser Andres Jõesaar support proposals put forward by the regulator to start checking the bias in the Estonia media.

On Monday, Estonia's regulator the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) made a proposal to start monitoring content in line with the Media Services Act.

Both Läänemets and Jõesaar told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" they are against the plan.

"This idea certainly deserves discussion. There are also some reasons why they have come up with this proposal. But I am of the belief that the media, at this point in time, is much improved in terms of self-regulation," said Jõesaar, who is currently drafting the act.

"Whether it's the TTJA or some other institution that's going to deal with balance in the news, fact-checking, and all the rest of it, that's a bit of a red herring at the moment. Particularly if we were to try to introduce the concept of "objectivity", for example, it is very difficult to see such a process," he added.

Andres Jõesaar Source: Ülo Josing/ERR

"Let's still stick to the model where we believe that professional journalism is so strong that it can take care of itself. And at the moment, looking at the Estonian media, I don't see a problem. There are publications with very clearly positioned worldviews, they have a right to be there. There is public broadcasting, there is private media. And there is no problem that we should have to solve through such regulation," Jõesaar said.

Läänemets said Estonia will continue to suppress Russian propaganda, but freedom for the rest of the media must be ensured.

Discussing the amendments to the Media Services Act, the minister said drafting is still in progress.

"What it will ultimately look like, we do not yet know. I don't think there's any need to regulate the Estonian media," Läänemets said.

"But as far as the Russian channels are concerned, or whoever is going to make a Russian propaganda channel in Estonia, we have to deal with that. In fact, that is the task of the Internal Security Service, it is a general task of the Ministry of the Interior," he said.

Lauri Läänemets. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

One of the TTJA's proposals is that consultations with the Internal Security Services should be held before granting an operating license to any new channel in Estonia.

"In the opinion of the ministry, we also say that the making of such a law requires the involvement of additional resources from the Internal Security Service, and we ask you to consider whether it makes sense in this form. It has to be done as far as Russian propaganda is concerned, but there may be other ways of doing it," said Läänemets.

Former education minister Liina Kersna (Reform) and the Estonian Media Companies Union (EML) also spoke out against the TTJA's proposal on Tuesday.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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