EAL EFJ-le – oleme mures, et meedia iseseisvus satub ohtu eriolukorra tingimustes

Estonian Association of Journalists concerned about EKRE ministers’ statement on media

Estonian Association of Journalists expresses concern that Estonian governmental party will use the income loss and economic hardship in media field resulting from national emergency enforce due to Covid-19 pandemic to supress media independence.

In their weekly radio talk show on Tre Radio, commenting on the media support package Minister of Finance Martin Helme and Minister of Interior Affairs Mart Helme (both leaders of the Estonian National Conservative Party, EKRE) made it clear that their party expects in exchange media to make concessions. The Minister of Interior Affairs said, that while EKRE dislikes the idea of any support, there was an agreement in “tit-for-tat” style, the content of which he will not disclose.

The Minister of Finance said that the support plan was agreed as a result of pressure from the other governmental parties. In EKRE’s view media does not need special support but should use the means via Unemployment Office and KredEx (governmental financial solutions foundation). Also, he noted, that he personally would pay good money to see the employees of Eesti Päevaleht (second biggest daily in Estonia, notably critical to government actions), “those red hyenas will slowly starve”, but that is no reason to give media any support.

The member of Estonian Delegation to CoE Assembly from EKRE, Urmas Reitelman said that the disappearance of some media outlets from Estonian media field is no problem. Martin Helme said, that the news page Uued Uudised (affiliated with EKRE) will be sufficient.

The media support package, decided in the end of last week, will give media companies 450,000 euros over three months only to support the home delivery of print media. No other support plan has been agreed on or discussed, although both Estonian Association of Media Enterprise (former Association of Newspapers) and Estonian Association of Journalists has requested government assistance to media field and employees respectively.

Board of Estonian Association of Journalists