Estonia’s main consumer body, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority, (TTJA), has initiated proceedings to bar, with eight channels currently under special scrutiny, the authority states.
These include RTR –Planeta (RTVI), Rossija 24 (RTVI), Rossija 24, REN Television, NTV Mir, and PBK.
If the TTJA decides to ban the retransmissions of these channels within Estonian, telecoms service providers will have to do so immediately.
Kaur Kajak, Director of TTJA, said that Russian propaganda channels have incited hatred and made propaganda, even war propaganda. The difference this year is, he stated, that the propaganda has had a clear impact.
Kajak stated that the TTJA will make every effort to reach a decision within 24 hours. However, such decisions must be legal.
Opposition parties support move
The three opposition parties support a ban on Russian propaganda channels from Estonia. Isamaa leader Helir Valdor Seeder stated that his party had submitted a bill to Riigikogu for this purpose, and that the government has not done anything about it.
Seeder said, “We can see that private companies have taken the initiative. Unfortunately, the government has not made such an important decision.” It is crucial to take control of information channels in such a scenario. However, it is something that the government has resisted doing. This needs to be done in just hours, not days.
Martin Helme, the leader of Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, stated that the situation was not about freedom of speech and freedom of the media. It is rather about misinformation that sows discord among Estonians.
The Social Democratic Party’s (SDE) new leader, Lauri Läänemets, said the coalition Center Party is slowing down the government’s decision on this issue, while Reform has not asserted itself adequately.
Läänemets said: “As we saw yesterday in the vote of a statement condemning Russia’s actions in the Riigikogu, unfortunately not all members of one government party voted in favor.”
The Center Party has reached an agreement with United Russia.
Läänemets added that simply closing down the TV channels was insufficient; reaching out to the Russian-speaking populace of Estonia, for instance via ERR’s Russian-language TV channel ETV+, needed to be enlarged.
One of the two major media groups in Estonia, the Postimees Group, has announced it is terminating an agreement which permitted the sale of advertising spots on Russian TV channels, Taavi Lätti, Postimees Group board member and sales director, said.
Postimees advertises on Russian-controlled channels
Postimees sold advertising to RBK (NTW Mir Est), REN-TV Estonia and DOM Kino.
As agreed by the European Council on Wednesday afternoon, the Financial Intelligence Unit has issued two memoranda concerning the imposition international sanctions. They pertain to radio and TV organizations and service providers as well as financial institutions.
Telia and Elisa, two of Estonia’s largest telecomms companies, announced earlier this week that they would be ending agreements with the local franchisee of Kremlin controlled TV companies including PBK Estonia (REN TV Estonia) and NTV Mir Estonia (NTV Mir Estonia).
As things stand, the Elisa and Telia bans will be in effect in two months.
Following the news of the military attack on several Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, Latvia made a similar announcement on Thursday.
The Kremlin threatened to block Russian access to ERR’s Russian-language portal.
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