The Minister of Culture Rein Lang made a political statement before the Riigikogu and announced that he had submitted a letter of resignation to the Prime Minister at 2.20 p.m. today.
“The insurmountable problem for me today is the possibility, or rather the impossibility of participating in the communication field of the society as a minister,” the minister announced in his statement. He added that he had no possibility to carry on his activities as a member of the Government when every one of his actions or ideas was put in the pillory.
Rein Lang also presented his understanding of the situation in the Estonian press. He noted that hundreds of Estonian people who might have something to say to the society today refused to speak before the public. As the reason, he pointed out their unwillingness to find themselves in a situation where the large crowds of anonymous Internet commentators decisively judge someone whom they do not know or something that they have never heard of.
“It is not what happened in the newspaper “Sirp”, but the way in which it was reflected in the public, that instigates the “silent era” for us,” the minister explained. He found that, at the present time, it is no longer enough that a publication who makes factual errors corrects the errors in its own publication in a gentlemanly way. “Today, lies multiply instantly and reach also those who never read, watch or listen to the source from which the lie originates.”
“To the best of my understanding, the problem lies in the weakening of the classical journalism and the boost of public relations as a new branch of economy. The fact that journalism and public relations are taught at the same institute at Tartu University, already speaks for itself,” Rein Lang added.
In the minister’s words, the weakness of journalism is certainly not in the interests of the society. “It would be in the interests of the society if the Western Christian value system which has become embedded over the centuries would be transferred into the communication functioning on new technological platforms, instead of disintegrating this value system with arguments against it, as if technology itself was creating a new value system suitable for it,” he said.
“We, the legislators and the Government, need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves if we have indeed done everything to ensure that social communication based on ethics and morality and free journalism could develop in Estonia. Or have we ourselves fallen into a marketing trap where public relations tricks, and even manipulation, are used in an attempt to compensate for a lack of ideas?” the minister explained the motives of his resignation.
The Riigikogu approved the agenda for the working week, according to which 25 drafts will be deliberated.
During the open microphone, Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus-Laul, Mihhail Stalnuhhin and Inara Luigas took the floor.
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