Estonia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The Estonian constitution, adopted in 1992, guarantees freedom of expression and bans censorship. Defamation has not been decriminalized, but no cases were prosecuted in 2003. Although small, the Estonian media market is one of the freest in Eastern Europe. Estonia boasts a wide array of newspapers, magazines, and Internet news portals, although concern has been expressed over the level of foreign investment and control of the media. Since 1998, foreign capital has led to concentration of ownership, especially in print media. Today, foreign investors--primarily Swedish and Norwegian companies such as Bonnier and Schibsted--own 7 of the top 10 newspapers. Estonians enjoy access to Russian, Finnish, and German television, as well as 3 nationwide Estonian stations. While there is little political pressure on media from local authorities, the Russian foreign ministry called on Estonia to shut down the pro-independence Chechen website, KavkazCenter, but the request was rejected. The Estonian news agency Eesti Teadete Agentuuri (ETA) closed in January due to economic difficulties.