Editorial: political ploy presented as protection of rights

Edgar Savisaar

PHOTO: Ekraanitõmmis reporter.ee videolt

As Centre chairman Edgar Savisaar waives court action against Postimees and journalist Tuuli Koch in the so-called agent of influence case, the accompanying arguments raise the  issue of why he sued in the first place. 

In its work, Postimees goes by law and good journalism practice. Should someone feel mistreated by the media, they can ask for correction of mistakes printed. Also, differences can be settled at the self-regulation body – the Press Council. And, naturally, the courts are open.

On December 16th 2010, Postimees on paper and in web published the article «Counterintelligence describes Edgar Savisaar as Russia’s agent of influence». Only almost three years later (!), in 2013, Mr Savisaar sued and demanded that the data published be refuted or the assessment shown as unlawful, and the moral damage thereby to be compensated. At two instances, the courts ruled that as the article was about an assessment, basis was missing to demand that the publication and the journalist refute the claim and compensate. Still, the plaintiff appealed to Supreme Court as the highest instance.

Now discontinuing the court action, Mr Savisaar noted that the Supreme Court had repeatedly promised to pronounce its judgement and had now appointed the new date of November 20th.  The Centre Party congress where Mr Savisaar is again running for chairman is on November 29th and he feels the court ruling may affect the delegates in their voting.

«I do not wish my political activity to be affected by the decision in any way. I do not desire political superficiality. I desire to avoid political meaning attached to any court decision,» said Mr Savisaar, promising to take it up again later – after the congress.

As the thoughtless triggering of the entire court case, the messages by Mr Savisaar smack of political ploy rather than the desire to protect his rights. Instead of contesting the security police who gave the above assessment, the politician opted to go against the messenger, the free media.

Postimees stands convinced it has not violated the rights of Mr Savisaar while willing to honour the ruling of an independent court, at any time. Estonian Republic is based on the rule of law, and its courts are politically unbiased.