According to chairman of the Estonian Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) Kaarel Tarand, the content analysis published in daily Postimees on Thursday of programs purchased by the City of Tallinn on the pro-Kremlin Perviy Baltiysky Kanal (PBK) is enough to merit discussion at a committee meeting regarding launching an investigation.
"The material which Postimees worked through and published is enough to put the issue on the agenda of the committee's next meeting," Tarand told Postimees, adding that if the topic is added to the agenda, the focus will be on the active election campaign period, not the relationship between the channel and the Center Party or the City of Tallinn throughout the years.
Using forbidden means, or forbidden donations, can be investigated. "In my opinion, it has all the characteristics and similarities to what was done in 2013," he said. "The difference here is that this time, air time was bought instead of commercial time, but it's basically the same model — public funds were used clearly in the interests of one party."
The ERJK is expected to decide at its regularly scheduled meeting in late January whether to launch an investigation on the matter.
Estonian journalist Oleg Samorodni, who has been studying the programs purchased by the City of Tallinn on PBK for five years, wrote in Postimees on Thursday that the city administration used public funds to advertise the Center Party as well as Mihhail Kõlvart, one of its top candidates, on several programs during a period of months leading up to the local elections that took place last October.
Editor: Aili Vahtla