Estonia ranks high in press freedom

15. May 2019

In the annual ranking by Reporters Without Borders, Estonia was assigned 11th place this year. The organisation describes the Estonian environment for journalists as “broadly favourable” despite the fact that the private media are mostly in the hands of just a very small number of individuals.

Estonia moved up one place since last year, when it ranked 12th.

estonia ranks high in press freedom
Estonia has advanced from 12th to 11th place. Source: Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders also wrote that despite the favourable conditions, pressure on journalists is increasing, especially considering that selling advertising and advertising space is playing an ever greater role in the business.

The organisation criticises Postimees Grupp’s owner, Margus Linnamäe. “Recently, the owner of one of the two dominant private media corporations, who is also conservative Isamaa party member, was criticised for direct interference in the editorial process,” they write. “He had personally appointed leading staff and promoted a conservative worldview in a new newspaper section he opened before the parliamentary elections.”

With the comment, Reporters Without Borders are alluding to recent changes on Postimees’ editorial staff, including the appointment of former ERR radio editor, Peeter Helme, as the paper’s new editor-in-chief. Despite a flawless record, Mr Helme has been faced with some amount of criticism for his conservative world view, driven mainly by the fact that he is a nephew of the chairman of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE), Mart Helme.

The organisation also describes the situation of the Russian-language media in Estonia as “problematic.” Russian-speaking journalists’ needs are somewhat disregarded, they write. Still: “All of the biggest newsrooms have a Russian language section where Russian speaking journalists work, but their audiences are small and therefore, they struggle to make themselves heard.”

The organisation also criticises the fact that Estonia’s main media awards have yet to be won by a journalist working in Russian.

Estonia moved up one place since last year, when it ranked 12th.

Editor: Dario Cavegn, ERR
Link to original article in ERR web portal.

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