Party financing supervisory authority to rule on Helme broadcast

EJRK Vice-President Kaarel Tarand.
EJRK Vice-President Kaarel Tarand. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The Supervisory Committee on Party Financing (ERJK) is set to decide if a radio broadcast made by Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader and interior minister Mart Helme, and his son Martin Helme, current finance minister in the coalition government, constituted electoral advertising.

The broadcast, of the regular Sunday "Räägime asjast" show on TRE Raadio, made on European Parliament election day, May 26, is already subject to a Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) investigation after 11 complaints were received that it breached electoral law.

Political advertising broadcasts are forbidden on election day in Estonia, in addition to an outdoor advertising ban which begins around six weeks before polling day.

"We will be listening to the broadcast to assess whether it constitutes paid advertising or a prohibited donation," said Kaarel Tarand, EJRK Vice-President, on Thursday, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.

"We have not commenced the procedure yet," he added.

Tarand noted that the ERJK had dealt with similar cases before, for instance broadcasts made on the Pervõi Baltiiski Russian-language TV channel.

ERJK member Väino Linde, who is also a Reform Party member, proposed the investigation of the May 26 "Räägime asjast" broadcast.

The PPA ordered TRE Radio, owned by EKRE MP Siim Pohlak, to remove the offending broadcasts, made on three frequencies, from its website. 

"The exact circumstances are in the process of clarification, and the procedure will reveal if the broadcasting ban was infringed," the PPA told ERR. The PPA investigation is still ongoing.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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