Simple Comment: “Free” press

Estonia Newspaper

The on-going imperialist war in Europe is exposing a few facts. These include a section of press – its condition. Estonia is now an example.

Newspaper in Estonia

The daily Eesti Paevaleht (Estonia Daily) informed on Tuesday:

Estonia will have no newspapers published in its official language in print on Mondays starting from mid-January due to delivery price hikes.

The daily’s editor-in-chief, Urmo Soonvald said: The Monday edition of Eesti Paevaleht will stop hitting the shelves on January 16.

Urmo Soonvald is also the editor-in-chief of news website Delfi, and Argo Virkebau is the chairman of the board of the publishing house Delfi Media. The paper was founded in 1995, four years after Estonia regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The not-so-good news follows announcement by the country’s leading dailies, Postimees and Ohtuleht: The end of their Monday print editions late last year. The country’s financial newspaper, Aripaev, said it would discontinue the print edition altogether.

In a column published by Eesti Paevaleht on Tuesday, Soonvald and Virkebau wrote: January 16 would be “a significant day in the history of Estonian journalism.”

The journalists wrote: From this day on, no Estonian-language newspaper will be published on Mondays in Estonia.

Soonvald and Virkebau said: Recent delivery price hikes were the reason behind the move.

They wrote: This forced choice was not the free will of the publishers, but the sum of price increases and decisions made by officials.

The senior journalists wrote: The government has failed to address the crisis.

The Estonian postal service Omniva announced last month: Price for the delivery of newspapers and magazines to households would be raised by at least 22% in 2023.

The media company informed: The subscription numbers have been dropping while the increase in labor costs and gasoline prices has led to higher operational expenses.

After dropping the Saturday issue several years ago, the print edition of Eesti Paevaleht will now be coming out four days per week. The newspaper also continues to publish stories online.

Now the points to ponder:

Can a single such example be cited from the days of the USSR/Soviet Union, the union/country made to dissolve, the entity the proletariat in Russia built up, the political organization today’s political leadership in Estonia and its brethren in the surrounding area despise?

Where does freedom of expression and opinion stand if the mode for conveying expression, etc. can’t reach its target audience?

Does it carry the “freedom” meaning, or is the “freedom” freedom, if a newspaper fails to reach its readership?

There’s no dictation from Stalin or Mao or Fidel in today’s “free” Estonia; but is it the dictation of price/cost/charge that’s dictating newspaper’s frequency of publication?

The price, etc. are dictating a powerful editor: No more publication on Monday, go home, have a rest. Who does dictate price? Isn’t it market’s dictation to a “free” press? Should one check with Marx? No Marx? Well, have a happy life with non-scientific ideas, if that’s possible!

Shall these aspects be raised and discussed in/by the famous mainstream fora, many they are?

Isn’t this Estonian development related to the on-going imperialist war in Ukraine?

How would have the famous, dignified, renowned, leading parts of the mainstream, actually imperialist, media in both sides of the Atlantic raised hue and cry had this Estonian incident happened in Cuba or Nicaragua or Cambodia or China? These dignified gentlemen will not utter a single word on the issue; their columns will not discuss this for a single time; and they will simply go silent as if no such development has occurred in any of their beloved lands! This media, probably say: volo, non valeo – I am willing, but unable. The reason: This media is chained by its master – capital.

This is “free” press! Wars, and similar contradictions expose this fact easily, they expose themselves.

Telling Truth about the Press

Huffpost said in a report (“Veteran News Anchor Jim Gardner Makes His Goodbye Count by Telling Truth about the Press”, Fri, December 23, 2022):

“Philadelphia news anchor Jim Gardner reminded viewers that the press is “not the enemy of the people” in his farewell broadcast Wednesday after more than 46 years on the air.

“He humbly asked his 6ABC audience for a ‘final word’ and launched an eloquent defense of his craft.

“‘The American free press has been under attack, not by forces from other countries, but from elements embedded in our own society, and even our own government. It worries me deeply,’ Gardner said.”

The observation – “American free press”, “under attack”, “from elements embedded in our own society, and even our own government” – deserves pondering for at least a few moments. Does it tell a bit about condition of the press there in the economy? Isn’t it’s the economy that ultimately controls the press that claims that it’s free?

The report said:

“Gardner told The Philadelphia Inquirer [….] ‘Maybe Jim Gardner is going away, and I’m going to reclaim Jim Goldman,’ […] referring to his real name. ‘It’s interesting to sort of think about that. Jim Goldman will probably shave off the mustache, right?’”

Shaving off moustache and finding out self isn’t a bad idea, as a reality appears.

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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