Vooglaid’s petition accuses the board of ERR of not having political programs hosted by people with conservative views. We can still remember a recent failed attempt by ERR board member Martin Helme (Conservative People’s Party) to punish ERR journalists over their alleged ideological bias. Now, it is Varro Vooglaid’s turn to try and stir up the people.
“If the public broadcaster is not prepared to consider proposals voluntarily, it is possible to organize protests and raise the issue in the international press. It is a very serious matter,” Vooglaid told Postimees.
Vooglaid mailed the first batch of letters to residents of Tallinn and Rapla County late last week. The envelope holds five pages of criticism of ERR in which Vooglaid gives as negative examples radio shows “Sildam ja Samost” and “Olukorrast riigis” as well as television programs “Esimene stuudio”, “Foorum” and “Ringvaade”. The direct mail package also includes an envelope for returning signed agreement with the propositions to the foundation. The foundation also asks for donations for the campaign.
Asked what it is Vooglaid hopes to achieve in terms of ERR programming, he replied with a question: “But can you name a single political show on ERR hosted by a person with national conservative views?”
Director of ERR Erik Roose said that Vooglaid’s campaign will not affect the program and contents of ERR. “It would be a precedent in our 70-year history if we were to shape our program based on a petition. Will we have a referendum on content?” Roose said.
He said that the program and hosts are considered for every season but added there is no reason for changes to be made at this time. “We have record-breaking viewer figures, so it cannot be said we are not beloved by the people,” Roose said. The director added that journalists are not hired based on their worldview. “We do not ask people who they voted for during job interviews. It would be absurd. You cannot hire or let people go based on popular voting.”
Senior editor of political programming at ERR, long-time host of “Foorum” Andres Kuusk sighed when he learned of criticism. “ERR only employs independent journalists,” he assured.
Varro Vooglaid, fighting for the success of conservative parties, hopes his petition will mobilize people. “It is possible that we will have to apply pressure on ERR for a long time, but that requires serious first steps,” Vooglaid writes in the petition.