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4 Jan, 2023 15:51

Newspaper crisis intensifies in EU member state

The Estonian media has been devastated by delivery price hikes 
Newspaper crisis intensifies in EU member state

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

The Monday edition of Eesti Paevaleht (Estonia Daily) will stop hitting the shelves on January 16, according to the paper’s editor-in-chief, Urmo Soonvald, who is also the editor-in-chief of news website Delfi, and Argo Virkebau, 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 news comes after Estonia’s leading dailies, Postimees and Ohtuleht, announced 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 that January 16 would be “a significant day in the history of Estonian journalism.” 

“From this day on, no Estonian-language newspaper will be published on Mondays in Estonia,” they stated. Estonians make up roughly 69% of the country of just over 1.3 million, while 23.7% are Russians, according to the government. Estonian is the country’s sole official language.  

Soonvald and Virkebau said that recent delivery price hikes were the reason behind the move. 

“This forced choice was not the free will of the publishers, but the sum of price increases and decisions made by officials,” they wrote, adding that the government has failed to address the crisis.

The postal service Omniva announced last month that it would raise the price for the delivery of newspapers and magazines to households by at least 22% in 2023. According to the company, 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.