Russian propaganda and political pressure
In 2019, Estonian news media faced challenges, prompting journalists to question just how fragile their freedom truly is. Members of the far-right populist party EKRE, a part of the ruling coalition, have been verbally attacking journalists with such intensity that the president decided to intervene. In addition to facing pressure from politicians, press freedom was restricted from within one of the most important newsrooms. In 2019, reports began emerged that the owner of Estonia's oldest newspaper, the Postimees, had been interfering in the work of journalists and using the newspaper to promote his conservative worldview and advertise his other businesses. In response to these revelations, almost all journalists of the investigative and opinion desks resigned. As Estonia is a small country with high media ownership concentration, the case led to a country-wide discussion on freedom of the press. Another factor defining the discussion on press freedom in Estonia is Russian propaganda. At the end of 2019, Estonia forced the proKremlin Sputnik news outlet to close its office in Tallinn. Authorities justified the move with the fact that a director-general of the Sputnik Estonia’s umbrella company is subject to EU sanctions for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Subsequently, the Russian government launched a global campaign against Estonia claiming that Estonia oppresses Russian media.
11 in 2019
12.27 in 2019