Tallinn, July 29, 2002. The Estonian Newspaper Association (EALL)
has created a new voluntary self-regulatory Press Council to handle
complaints from the public about press ethical aspects of material
in the press. The Press Council of Estonia (Pressinõukogu in
Estonian) replaces the former press council (Avaliku Sõna Nõukogu),
from which the Newspaper Association withdrew earlier in the year
over disagreements concerning its leadership and management style.
The new 9-member Press Council, which met for the first time at the
end of June, elected Mr Sulev Valner, editor-in-chief of the Maaleht
weekly newspaper, as its chairman.
The failure of the old press council to continue as a
self-regulatory body taught a lesson to the Newspaper Association
that there should be no institutional membership of a press ethics
council. Lay institutional members, such as the Consumer Protection
Association or the Council of Churches, as well as broadcast
organizations, failed to understand the concerns of the newspaper
industry over the declining authority of the press council in the
eyes of newspaper editors. So the new Press Council will function as
a unit at the Newspaper Association while drawing members both from
the newspaper industry as well as from outside.