Financing and Viewing Rate of the Estonian Public Broadcasting *
The European Parliament Resolution adopted in November 2010 emphasises that in order to provide modern technologies and services to the wider public, the Member States must allocate appropriate funding to public service media.
It means that in the shaping of media policy, the national parliaments and the ministers responsible for media must create such conditions for financing public service broadcasting that the serving of public interests is guaranteed. Public media has a special role in the protection of smaller, unique national cultures and languages that are the most vulnerable to the effects of globalisation and commercialisation. This also applies to the three Baltic States Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Besides mainstream entertainment, the commercial channels of larger countries may find money also for attracting smaller interest groups, while the commercial organisations acting on a media landscape with very limited financial resources focus on maximising their profit with the support of mass production entertainment. The author emphasises that in such a situation, it is necessary to have a firm legal framework for the functioning of public broadcasting and an adequate financing system for guaranteeing its development. In Estonia, the first condition is met but as regards the second condition, we still have a long way to go to meet the European standards.
*The article is based on the author’s doctoral thesis “EU media policy and survival of public service broadcasting in Estonia 1994–2010”, which was defended at the University of Tartu. – http://dspace.utlib.ee/dspace/bitstream/handle/10062/17927/joesaar_andres.pdf?sequence=1