Ten circles around PBK


On the 11th of December, Raul Rebane published an opinion article’s investigation on the „Image of the European Union and its Eastern nation partners in the Russian media“ in which in his summation he recommended ending the purchasing of airtime on the PBK channel by the City of Tallinn.

The topic that brought forward the Tallinn City budget, showing the entries of bank transfers for air time purchases on the Russian propaganda channel PBK, had dozens of larger and smaller opinion leaders participating in a carrousel of discussions.

Individuals who spoke against purchasing airtime on the PBK channel for example were President Kersti Kaljulaid, Sergei Metlev, Urmas Sutrop, Rainer Vakra, Erik Niiles Kross, Raivo Aeg, Ilmar Raag, Anvar Samost, Janek Luts, Helir Valdor Seeder, Swedbank, LHV, Marti Aavik, Ivan Makarov. The reason for this was given in a very wide spectrum

However the justification for ordering material on the PBK channel has been, for example given by Toomas Alatalu, Vsevolod Jürgenson, Taavi Aas, PBK director Anton Blinov, PBK representatives Margus Merima, Jevgeni Ossnovski, Jüri Ratas, Pavel Ivanov, Vadim Belobrovtsev.

Companies that have justified the ordering of content on the PBK channel have been for example Telia, Elisa, Rimi, Luminor, Tele2 and the media agency Initiative.

A broader view of the channel and its contents has been given to the study by the following authors;  Oleksi Makuhhin, Marju Lauristin as well as  Triin Vihalemm.

The part of the discussion that includes ETV+ has Darja Saar and Erik Roose from ERR involved.

In addition, the topic was discussed repeatedly on the internal political programs of  „Rahva teenrid“, „Samost ja Ruussaar“, „Olukorrast riigis“, „Muuli ja Riikoja“ and „Keskpäevatund“.

A wide spectrum of opinions were presented and discussions were held on issues such as:

who should order airtime on the PBK channel

who should advertise on the PBK channel

whether private companies should order advertising on the PBK channel

whether ETV+ has succeeded

should ETV+ and Tallinn TV merge

whether the PBK channel undermines Estonia’s security, which would result in the banning of the PBK channel

how the content of the PBK channel affects its viewers

whether the PBK channel is really media

whether ETV+ should broadcast shows from the PBK channel

whether ETV+ is anti-propaganda

should the population remain uninformed due to PBK channel’s bias broadcasting

As the list of topics shows, the discussion was extremely wide reaching, drifting from the original theme of Raul Rebane and bringing in the not involved TV channels, ETV+ and Tallinn TV (which moreover is still an Estonian language channel)

According to Propastop, the debate about the role of Kremlin propaganda channels in Estonia is very important and the blog is pleased that this kind of discussion in the press has gone on in such a big way. We think that all of the thoughts and focuses are worthwhile with the following two questions:

  • Is PBK a propaganda channel? Should the nation of Estonia use propaganda channels to transmit their messages?
  • Propastop has considered PBK as a Kremlin propaganda channel for a long time for the reasons that we stated in this posting and the study that underlies the entire discussion only confirms these conclusions. We have also long been of the opinion that the purchase of airtime on a channel that promotes anti-Estonian propaganda using Estonian taxpayer’s money must definitely be stopped.

We hope that the discussion that has started at this time will be a genuine step forward in the management of propaganda channels and will not only be limited to the publishing of opinions. By the way, we also have a good idea on ways to curb it.

Photo: outtakes from PBK and 1TV’s home page.