Urmas Reitelmann new EKRE broadcasting supervisory council representative

Urmas Reitelmann at a pre-election panel discussion on ERR's Vikerraadio.
Urmas Reitelmann at a pre-election panel discussion on ERR's Vikerraadio. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Urmas Reitelmann is to be the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) representative on the supervisory council at public broadcaster ERR, replacing Martin Helme, the party announced Monday.

Under the terms of the 2007 act which dealt with the establishment of ERR, merging the formerly-separate radio and TV broadcasters, the organization has an eight-person supervisory council, aimed at maintaining balance, consisting of one member from each elected political party, plus three independent members.

Martin Helme, who has to step down from the role after being appointed finance minister in the new coalition (in any case all of the Riigikgou parties have to elect new members), said in April that journalists who displayed ''bias'' in their broadcasting should be removed from the airwaves, without initially naming names.

Speaking of his new role, Reitelmann said that he would aim to comply with his statutory duty to check compliance with the broadcasting act, ERR's online Estonian news reports.

''This is not 100 percent good, there is always room for improvement, but I would have the opportunity to consider it,'' he said Monday.

Reitelmann, who is reportedly a former employee of ERR, added that he would not interfere with the content or direction of ERR programs, and would not seek to direct it in any way.

"ERR has competent managers and a competent board,'' he said, adding that he did not intend to intervene

Reitelmann also said he was in favour of the proposed new TV house, to be constructed in a more centralized location between the existing radio and news houses, at the proposed cost of around €45 million.

"I recently went to the old TV house; it reminded me of an old, dilapidated blanket. Everything was more or less the same as I when went to work there long ago,'' he said.

Outgoing supervisory council members, in addition to Martin Helme, are Viktoria Ladõnskaja-Kubits (Isamaa), Heidy Purga (Reform), Kalvi Kõva (SDE), Marika Tuus-Laul (Centre) and Krista Aru (Free). Since the Free Party did not win any seats at the March 3 election, it will no longer have a representative on the council.

Outgoing Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Jevgeni Ossinovksi is likely to be the new SDE representative, it is reported.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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