President Meri named most press-friendly public figure

Tallinn, Dec 3, 1998. The Estonian Newspaper Association (ENA) elected President Lennart Meri as the most press-friendly public figure in 1998. Meri received the overwhelming support of the member papers of ENA, who took the vote at their annual general meeting.

This was the fifth such vote since 1994, when ENA started the tradition. The winner of the title receives a miniature loudspeaker, which ENA hopes to extend to President Meri before the end of the year.

Meri received the title first and foremost for forging good ties with the regional papers. Editors of those papers said their access to the president has improved considerably in 1998.

Another reason for voting for Meri is the content of his public addresses, which always provide a lot of food of thought for the press, something which cannot be said about the speeches of several other high-ranking figures.

It was pointed out, however, that President Meri should work more on reducing the annoying unpredictability of timing his public addresses. Withholding important statements until past the deadline for many newspapers shows disrespect for, or ignorance of, the specifics of the press - something which cost Meri the title of the most press-hostile public figure in 1994.

The ENA annual general meeting found that Interior Minister Olari Taal is the most press-hostile public figure in 1998. He earned the mention for his fuzzy statements (or lack of statements) during the Savings Bank/Daiwa Bank loan affair at the beginning of the year, when whe was a banker. Also, some newspapers pointed out that in his new job as interior minister, he should be more available for comment on major issues within the domain of his ministry. “Currently, he has surrounded himself with a wall,” was a typical complaint.



Estonian Newspaper Association

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10134 Tallinn Estonia
Tel. +372 646 1005
Fax. +372 631 1210

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