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Draft bill to enable fines for Estonian care homes showing Russian TV channels

Russian TV channel.
Russian TV channel. Source: ERR

According to a draft bill to amend the Media Services Act, the Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA), would have the right to fine not only hotels but also care homes, for retransmitting content from Russian television.

According to section 51 of Estonia's Media Services Act, the TTJA can issue a precept to prevent the retransmission of an audiovisual media service if that service has harmed the health of the public and the security of society, including national security and defense, or poses a significant threat to the security of Estonian society.

The draft amendment to the Media Services Act, which is currently in the process of being agreed upon, states that the TTJA has received several notifications relating to accommodation establishments, which allow shows restricted by the Media Authority's injunction to be viewed on TV sets on their premises. According to the current version of the Act, an electronic communications operator, but not an accommodation establishment or shopping mall for example, can be considered a re-transmitter of an audiovisual media service, if it allows television shows which it receives via a satellite dish or, in border areas, via a conventional dish, to be viewed on its premises.

The draft proposal to amend the Media Services Act has been put forward as a solution, giving the TTJA the authority to issue an injunction preventing restricted media service from being made available at tourist accommodation or other venues that show TV channels publicly. However, the TTJA has been informed that restricted channels are also broadcast, for example, in care homes for the elderly, which are not accessible to the general public.

Therefore, the draft no longer focuses solely on accommodation establishments, but has been expanded to also include places open to the general public or places not open to the general public, but where an unspecified number of people from outside people's families and immediate social circle may reside.

The TTJA would then be able to issue orders to such venues requiring them to stop making restricted media services, which may contain harmful and socially divisive information, available. The regulation aims to help prevent the dissemination and distribution of information that poses a security threat to Estonia in public places and public gatherings.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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