The analysis is based on extensive desk research, in-depth interviews, online surveys, observations from training sessions conducted during this project. Most of the Russian language journalists involved in the project were based in the Eastern parts of Estonia and Latvia. Among other formats, a crisis simulation events served as a source of insight. The analysis offers an overview of the main findings regarding ongoing cooperation and challenges of Russian language media in Baltic states.
The following policy recommendations can be made as practical actions for building and enhancing the resilience of the local Russian-language media in Estonia and Latvia:
- Regional and pan-Baltic cooperation between local journalists should be prioritised and supported as an effective measure for stimulating professional networking and cross-fertilisation of ideas.
- The engagement of local journalists in professional communities and associations should respect geographical diversity and include non-capital-based activities.
- Public monitoring should improve the regulation of information activities of municipalities (and other quasi-media outlets) to ensure fair media competition.
- Regular non-content-linked funding and competitive grant opportunities tailored for local newsrooms and individual journalists in the regions should be provided to promote the use of innovative solutions to optimise human resources in local newsrooms.
- Cross-sectoral cooperation for advanced solutions for small newsrooms in informationally vulnerable regions should be promoted to stimulate sharing the best practices of differentiative motivation and recognition of newsroom staff.
- Transparent state grants should be introduced to support cross-border cooperation for the creation of media content in Russian (with the possibility to re-publish it in Estonian and Latvian).
- Accessible platforms for informing and assisting local newsrooms with specific target audience analysis should be launched.
- Sustainable funding for equipment and licenced software should be provided in grant budgets and other types of support for local newsrooms.
- Hands-on skills training should be delivered to increase awareness of information security and data protection regarding equipment, software and platforms produced by companies or in countries with hostile policies against democratic societies.
- Professional assistance should be provided in developing work strategies for accelerating the secure digital transition of local newsrooms, including some guidelines for the special protection and safety of freelance journalists.
- A culture of safety and security should be promoted among local journalists and newsrooms to enhance cooperation between the local media, authorities and law enforcement agencies for better crisis preparedness and threat assessment.
- Crisis-related media statements should be created and distributed on local, regional and national levels in the languages understood by local audiences, as this is essential for rapid, effective crisis communication.
- A culture of security should be introduced in newsrooms and a network of trusted contacts maintained based on risk assessment and the principles of crisis communication.