While media freedom is one of the pillars of democracy, propaganda cannot be allowed to hide behind media freedom, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) said at an Eastern Partnership (EaP) media conference in Kiev on Wednesday.
"Estonia ranks 12th in the World Press Freedom Index," Mikser said according to ministry spokespeople. "Media freedom and plurality are parts of our society's foundation. Information must be accessible for everyone, but at the same time, we cannot let propaganda hide behind media freedom.
"With the opportunity to obtain information from numerous sources comes the responsibility to distinguish between truth and falsehood, between opinion and fact," he continued. "We must learn and adapt to the overburdened information field. Something served as news may not be."
According to Mikser, propaganda and false information are not going to disappear in the foreseeable future, so it must be addressed systematically and consistently.
"The importance of media literacy and being critical of sources is growing," said the Estonian minister. "Even the strongest state will cease to function when it starts to hunt down all lies and prove them wrong. The key to the solution is an informed media consumer and a diverse media environment."
Regarding Eastern Partnership countries, Mikser said that Estonia intends to share its experience in promoting media freedom.
"Free and professional media in Eastern Partnership countries is in all of our interests, and we would like to contribute to it," he said. "We have organized several projects through the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership that have focused on media development and we will continue with them in the future."
The media conference which took place in Kiev on Wednesday is one of four Eastern Partnership Summit side events taking place during the current Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU.
Editor: Aili Vahtla