Estonia | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2005

2005 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The government respects freedom of speech and the press, and dozens of independent newspapers and radio stations offer diverse viewpoints. Libel has been removed from the penal code, but it can still be prosecuted as a criminal offense, although no journalists have been prosecuted for criminal libel for some time. Estonian legislation does not specify that broadcasting in the Russian language is a requirement, and some journalists this year called for an end to Russian-language broadcasting. A new Russian-language weekly newspaper was launched this year and Estonian TV3 established a Russian-language channel. Ethnic Russians tune in primarily to Russian-language news programming, which has been accused of broadcasting biased content and misinforming its public. Newspapers in Estonia claim complete editorial independence from political parties and the government, and in an overwhelming majority of cases it is so. One case stood out this year, in which a journalist was detained and threatened when he refused to reveal the name of a source from one of his articles. There is ongoing financial pressure on some media outlets and a growing tendency toward concentration of ownership. Estonia has a high rate of Internet usage, which stems in part from a strong government commitment to providing free public Internet access.