Nordics to continue supporting Russian-language media in Baltics

Photographer: Søren Sigfusson/norden.org

The Baltic Times, 23 April 2017

TALLINN – The committee for the Nordic cooperation of the Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to continue funding a programme which supports Russian-language media production and a media-critical approach in the Baltic countries, including the ETV+ Russian-language channel of the Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

“The previous media cooperation project demonstrated that this is an area in which Nordic experience really is of use,” secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Hoybraten said. “We believe that this new programme will confirm this,” he added.

Between 2014 and 2016 the Nordic Council of Ministers implemented a programme that encompassed media production, media knowledge, and media critique for the Russian-speaking minority living in the Baltic countries.  The programme was a success and attracted considerable interest within both the media and politics. The objective of the new programme is to continue to support and consolidate the activities of independent Russian-language media in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Direct development and production support will be paid to the Russian-language television channel ETV+ in Estonia and to radio productions in Latvia. Additionally, the Eastern Europe Studies Center will coordinate the production of programmes for the Russian and Polish-speaking minorities in Lithuania.

An important element of the programme is disseminating greater knowledge about media and source critique to journalists, teachers, and media consumers.

The majority of Estonia’s, Latvia’s, and Lithuania’s Russian-speaking populations depend solely on news and current affairs programming from Russian state-controlled television companies. The promotion of democracy in the Baltic countries requires the production of qualitative and independent media, even in Russian. At its meeting in Tallinn on April 20, the committee for Nordic cooperation decided to continue the funding of a programme that supports media production and a media-critical approach in the Baltic countries.

The programme includes production support for journalists working with media productions whose explicit objective is to include both Russian and Polish-speaking minorities in the political and social debate.

There is also an emphasis on the continued training of journalists in, for instance, the ethics and economics of journalism, as well as legal matters. A legal handbook for journalistic work will be developed. The handbook will serve as a practical tool for journalists on legislative issues in the media.

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