The final day of last week brought us news that Postimees Group will be replacing BMA Estonia OÜ as the broker for advertisements to Russian TV channels PBK, NTV Baltic Estonia, REN-TV Baltic Estonia and DOM kino. The announcement caused a storm of criticism on the channels of competitors and Postimees was unequivocally condemned. Despite the fact that the publication has been one of the most active fighters of propaganda and influence activities as well as an educator of people so far.
Putting aside emotions and the desire to „do in“ a competitor, it must be admitted that Postimees is not to blame.
Yes, brokering funding for the development of Russian propaganda channels and helping to find advertisers is a huge disservice to the nation of Estonia as well as the people living here, but it is only the brokering of orders of advertising.
Would the criticism have been as intense if instead of Postimees taking over the brokering of advertising from BMA Estonia OÜ, it had been Mustik and Punik? Probably not.
The question actually is about the purchasing of advertising, not brokering or selling.
It is also not a question of PBK, NTV Baltic Estonia, REN-TV Baltic Estonia and DOM kino channels, but of the fact that Estonian companies are taking a shorter route to reach their customers. They pay for channels created and supported by the Russian government and provided with content whether in the form of television and radio or following the global trend of online forms such as online publications, You tube or similar platforms. All of them today also feature advertisements by Estonian organizations alongside content dictated by the Kremlin.
Propastop has repeatedly written how advertisements of Estonian companies can be found in Russian propaganda media on the Internet or on Youtube channels specifically designed for propaganda distribution. We have made recommendations on how to technically stop it and have compiled and later updated a list of Kremlin propaganda channels.
Estonian media consumers have seen dozens of debates over a long period about whether and what to do with Russian propaganda channels, but today we are still debating whether or not it is polite to broadcast advertising on these channels.
There is a need to limit dissemination and raise consumer awareness
According to Propastop’s editorial office, the Kremlin’s propaganda output here should be marked. This would rule out the debate about whether or not anyone knows that these channels are full of hostile content targeted by our eastern neighbour’s government.