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The President of the Republic's Academic Council discussed problems of media space in Estonia

The President of the Republic today at Kadriorg discussed with the members of the President's Academic Council problems of media space in Estonia. Professor Hagi Shein introduced the topic.

Associate Professor of Tartu University, Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication, Dr. Halliki Harro-Loit spoke about Estonian media policy "food chain", first of all, the problems of liberal media policy and difference between journalistic freedom and freedom of speech.

Professor of History at Tartu University, Dr. Epp Lauk gave an overview of the essence of media criticism and its functions. She concluded that journalism could block critical debate and unpleasant topics, and if media was not open to free and fair debate about itself, there were problems with democracy. According to Epp Lauk, another important function of media criticism, beside the quality analysis of mass information, was educating of critically thinking media consumers, and that has to start at school.

The Chairman of the Broadcasting Council, Andres Jõesaar gave an overview of the perspectives of Estonian public broadcasting system. He said that the European ideology, which is primarily determined by competition policy, and also legislation would become dangerous for small markets where underfinanced public broadcasting systems could not compete with commercial channels and therefore they marginalize. According to Jõesaar, small countries must protect their broadcasting system themselves, but that would be difficult without cultural and social traditions that support public broadcasting system.

Media consultant, Raul Rebane spoke about national information security and said that the information age had multiplied not only positive aspects of information flow, but also threats. Rebane concluded that the protection of national information field and historical-cultural sign system needed big efforts, as defeat in informative-intellectual fight could cause unfortunate consequences for small nations.

Ene Ergma, Chairman of the Riigikogu, Raivo Palmaru, Minister of Culture, Margus Allikmaa, Chairman of the Board of Eesti Raadio, and Ilmar Raag, Chairman of the Board of Eesti Televisioon were also participating in the discussion.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 21, 2005

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