Commenting on the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority's (TTJA) desire to add a requirement to monitor the truthfulness, impartiality and balance of news programs to the Media Services Act, Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Tiit Riisalo (Eesti 200), said the TTJA has the right to take action in order protect Estonia's media space.
According to Riisalo, there is no need for the state to assess and control media content.
"That would be unthinkable in the Estonian context. The state has no intention of interfering in the activities of the press or in any way regulating the content of news programs in the Estonian media. However, the TTJA has the right to act in order to protect the Estonian media space. And not to protect it from our own media, but from the propaganda channels of hostile states. To date, the TTJA has suspended the broadcast of 51 TV channels in Estonia as well as access to 273 Internet sites," Riisalo said on ETV show "Aktuaalne kaamera."
"The TTJA has two tasks: to ensure that the Estonian media space is protected and to be the issuer of TV and radio licenses. It makes sense to control who is granted these TV and radio licenses from third countries," Riisalo said.
"The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has a much better overview of which TV channels are under EU sanctions, and the Internal Security Service (ISS / KAPO) has information regarding whether one or another organization that applies for a license is, or is not in the service of a hostile state," Riisalo said.
Riisalo added, that the boundaries determining which countries' TV channels will or will not be banned is to drawn by "competent specialists, who will advise the TTJA on this issue."
The minister added that the TTJA's statements were comments made about the drafting of the law, which the Ministry of Culture had requested from a number of different organizations.
"I have also discussed this case with the head of the TTJA, and have to admit that this particular proposal was poorly worded," Riisalo said.
Asked why, in a democracy, the state should be able to decide which media people consume, Riisalo said that, a few years ago, when we were living in a very different international context, there had been no need for something like this.
"However, if we were to broadcast channels like Sputnik in Estonia, then that should not happen. Because the war is not only happening on the front lines in Ukraine, but in the media sphere and all the time," Riisalo said.
Editor: Michael Cole