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Injection of confidence promised to Russian speakers

Venekeelse telekanali peatoimetaja Darja Saar. PHOTO: Erik Prozes

Darja Saar, elected editor-in-chief for Russian language TV channel at Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR), says there will be interactive solutions, topics that touch the locals, visually modern programmes and professional presenters.

Would you please describe the concept in further detail? In what way will this be different from ETV 2, or «Aktuaalne kaamera» in Russian?

Our channel will not be the usual journalism as we understand it, like covering what is happening in society by camera and presenters. The channel ought to allow inhabitants of Estonia a fuller participation in public life, obtaining information and motivation for expressing themselves. The concept was approved by ERR management and I was handed carte blanche. We will be doing the channel together with the viewers!


Any author may drop by with his interesting idea; thereafter, all representatives of the TW channel’s technical and artistic departments – operators, directors, producers, marketers – will take it to consumers. Though I do not like the word, as a consumer would do nothing but receive and take, while giving nothing in return. I see people as creators, firstly.

The five years working with Entrum (a youth business ideas competition initiated by Ms Saar – edit) awarded me an interesting experience: Estonia is very small, as if, but by energy, aims and tasks, emotions and moods, the regions greatly vary.

In addition to that, I realised our society has not been divided along nationality lines alone: people in a profession stick together and do not come into contact with those in other domains. Journalists are by themselves, entrepreneurs are by themselves, culture workers by themselves. I fear this is why our economic and social development is stuck. I would desire to bring all of these people together.

And it will all succeed?

Surely it will! One just has to work hard, and with people first of all. We will have about 20 people working with our morning and evening programmes; we intend to be in close cooperation with Raadio 4, the Russian language editorial desk at ERR, as well as on web portals and social networks level.

Our advantage as compared to Russian channels is that they are not talking about us, inhabitants of Estonia, and topics vital for us. They only talk about Estonia as it relates to their propagandist goals, they are not interested in us as people. And, now, indeed, our channel will be telling the local Russian speakers about what might be of interest to them in our society, like what happens at Tallinn Music Week, the film festival PÖFF, or Festival of Opinion Culture (The Arvamusfestival).

Also, we will not just be telling the viewers about these events and to entertain them; we want to actively involve them in the doings at the channel. The most important message of the channel being: for the viewers to feel full and worthy members of the society. Citizenship Act is not for me to change, but with the channel I can inject confidence into people.

Will the technical means and the visual side of the programmes be at least comparable, to a degree, with those of Russian TV channels?

I will do all in my power for our TV picture to be attractive and modern, and that, as bona fide multimedia products, our programmes would offer something to TV viewers, listeners, and Internet users. And let’s hope the channel is interesting enough for other media outlets to be speaking on topics raised by it as well. 

To ensure high quality, like at Ostankino, we intend to do training for people at the TV channel – so all working on the air would feel confident before the camera.