Estonia Culture

Estonia Culture and Mass Media

Newspapers in Estonia

According to PROGRAMINGPLEASE.COM, Estonia is a country located in Europe. The media landscape in Estonia has changed fundamentally since the country became independent in 1991. The newspapers, which were part of the Communist Party’s propaganda machine, have been privatized and are no longer subject to censorship. At the same time, new technology in the IT sector and the establishment of privately owned radio and television have changed the entire media consumption.

The country’s constitution prohibits censorship, and Estonia is in third place (2011-12) on the Reporters Without Borders index of freedom of expression.

Internet and mobile telephony

Estonia is at the top of the Baltic countries when it comes to the Internet. As early as 2000, Parliament decided that access to the Internet is a human right. Over 75% of the population is connected (2012). Google, YouTube and Facebook top the list of the most visited sites, along with the national news portal Delfi and the daily Postimee website.

In 2001, the telecommunications market was deregulated and the former state Elion is now owned by Swedish-Finnish TeliaSonera. Among the competitors are Swedish Tele2.

TV and radio

Radio broadcasting began in 1926 and television began broadcasting in 1955. In 2007, the state broadcasters merged into one – Eesti Ravhusringhääling (ERR). The company has two TV channels and five radio channels.

There are about 15 private radio stations that broadcast in about 25 channels. The private TV channels are dominated by two actors – Eesti Media and the Swedish Modern Times Group (MTG), which are part of the Kinneviks sphere. All channels are transmitted digitally; the analog network was switched off in 2010.

Daily press and magazine

There are five newspapers with national distribution, four in Estonian and one in Russian. The largest are Estonian Postimees with a circulation of about 55,000 items. In addition, there are about 20 regional newspapers, several with editions below 5,000 copies. Bonniers also has operations in the country and publishes the daily business magazine Äripäev with an edition of just over 10,000 copies. (2012). Bonniers and Schibsted made major investments in Estonia in the late 1990s, but Bonniers has today sold all business except its business newspaper while Schibsted sold its media house Eesti Media in 2013.


According to APARENTINGBLOG, Estonia has a rich folk poetry whose oldest layer, the runo songs, has been passed on through oral tradition for many centuries.

Towards the end of the 19th century, especially during the period of refreshment, recording and collecting folk poems became a way of expressing and preserving the national character. Folk poetry has been and is an important source of inspiration for Estonian lyricists. The national post Kalevipoeg (Kalev’s son, published 1856–1861) by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald is largely based on folk poetry.

Song plays a big role in Estonian culture. When a native culture emerged in the 19th century (Russian tsar times), song choirs and periodic recurring song parties were the elements. That tradition lives on with a wide popular foundation. The choir song in Estonia is of high class and is world famous, including through Inseneride Meeskoor (The Engineers’ Choir).

The traditional Estonian song festivals played an important role in the country’s liberation from the Soviet Union in 1991. A leading figure in this singing revolution was the composer and conductor Gustav Ernesaks, called the father of the song in Estonia. During the Soviet occupation, Ernesaks said that both the sky and the earth would be darkened if the people had no choir in which they could sing.

Estonian Arvo Pärts classic and religious compositions are among the most beloved of our time. His simple minimalist music is recognized worldwide and in 2015, Pärt was ranked for the fifth consecutive year as the most played live composer in the country.

Literature is important in modern Estonian culture. A domestic prose emerged in the late 19th century with national romantic and later social-critical works. After the turn of the century, literature opened to Scandinavia and Western Europe. Anton Hansen Tammsaare’s (1878-1940) historical epic Tõde ja õigus (Truth and Justice) is referred to as one of the foremost works of Estonian literature.

During World War II, nearly two-thirds of Estonian writers fled abroad – many to Sweden – where they continued their literary activities (for example, Karl Ristikivi). A new generation of writers also appeared, including Kalju Lepik and Helga Nõu.

In Estonia, the development stagnated during the Stalin period (1944–1953), but thereafter, greater openness, experimental desire and the revitalization of literary life followed. In the following decades, great author names emerged such as the Nobel laureates Jaan Kross and Jaan Kaplinski and the acclaimed poet Paul-Eerik Rummo. Among the writers of the 21st century are the award-winning poet and novelist Kristiina Ehin.

Estonian art follows broadly the same lines of development as literature. Johan Koler, who during the second half of the 19th century became a pioneer in national art, drew many motives from Kalevipoeg. In the early 1900s, Estonian art was revitalized with several painting schools. During World War II many artists fled to Sweden. Art practice in Estonia was paralyzed during the Stalin period, but then regained its life and took the impression of international modern art.

Jüri Arrak became an internationally acclaimed artist in the late 1900s, and in the 2000s, Martin Saar has had success in New York.



The Minister of Justice resigns

Justice Minister Kristen Michal resigns but denies allegations of irregularities regarding donations to the Reform Party. The conflict over party contributions has lowered the party to third place in the opinion, with the opposition parties Social Democrats and Center Party at the top.


The opposition leader is being investigated by prosecutors

Opposition leader Edgar Savisaar, Center Party, is the subject of the prosecutor’s investigation into suspected money laundering in Switzerland.


Party donations trouble the liberals

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip’s Reform Party is accused of questionable donations to the party fund, similar to money laundering. Justice Minister Kristen Michal is said to have been driving before his ministerial term. He refuses but prosecutors initiate a preliminary investigation.


The center portion is shattered

The Leftist Center Party is split when a group of politicians step out and form their own party group in Parliament.


The Social Democrats do away with Russian-speaking

The opposition party The Social Democrats join forces with the small Russian party with the intention of winning Russian-speaking voters. Stanislav Tsherepanov from the Russian Party becomes Vice Party leader under S leader Sven Mikser.

Estonia Culture

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