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Soonvald, Urmo

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4 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia | 07/09/2015

Online forums outlets for blind hatred

The online portal Delfi has closed down its comments function for articles dealing with refugees. The portal's editor-in-chief explains the decision in the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht: "The loss of empathy and objectivity on the topic of refugees has become a huge problem in Estonian society. That can - and must - be punished, even though in this case unfortunately only on an administrative level. And it must be countered with human stories and reasonable arguments. ... However the key figures of the [recently founded] initiative 'Friendly Estonia' whose faces adorn the front pages are not the people who can make and implement decisions. The [national conservative governing party] IRL hasn't been able to calm people down, because it's more interested in scoring political points using the refugees. The Reform Party and the Social Democrats, for their part, have no influential figures to speak of. So our society is full of blind hatred which first becomes apparent in online comments."

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia | 16/06/2015

Don't censor anonymous reader comments

The European Court of Justice in Strasbourg will hand down judgement in the Delfi vs. Estonia case today. The question is whether the web portal can be held responsible for anonymous comments and therefore must monitor the content posted by its readers. Chief editor Urmo Soonvald opposes such an obligation in the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht, defending democratic rights: "The freedom of opinion is a sacrosanct value. It played a role in the independence of Estonia and will pave the way for the independence of many other states that are struggling for freedom. Anonymous freedom of opinion makes the relations around us more transparent. Nothing good can come of obscure, closed and controlled societies. And it's exactly the same thing if the content posted by users is controlled by censors who decide what is right and how people should think. People's opinions, and their right to spread them, must not be censored. That was the practise in Eastern Europe until 1989 when the system exploded with a bang."

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia | 17/06/2013

Estonia misses chance of Russian conciliation

Metropolitan Cyril, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, visited Estonia on the weekend. However Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves was away on a state visit in Slovenia, having turned down the invitation of a meeting. He has once again missed an opportunity to improve Estonia's relations with Russia, the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht criticises: "Cyril is one of the most influential people in Russia's official and unofficial hierarchy. He forms the connection between millions of Orthodox believers and the political elite. … The Estonian state should not have rejected his desire to meet the president so disrespectfully. An official debate with him (in other words, with Russia) is in Estonia's interest - in this way we can start a dialogue with the other side instead of fighting with it through the social media. In the long term Cyril's support is more important for us than being liked by the Slovenians."

SL Õhtuleht - Estonia | 04/04/2006

Competition between ferry operators on the Baltic

Estonia is well positioned in the competition between ferry companies operating on the Baltic Sea. An accident – a passenger on a ferry belonging to Estonian ferry operator "Tallink" fell overboard during a crossing between Tallinn and Stockholm – has led to a dispute between the countries on the Baltic. Swedish newspapers criticise the ferry for not stopping after the accident was reported. The Estonian ferry operator defends its actions. Urmo Soonvald suspects that vested interests are involved in the row. "Tallink has long been a major player on the Baltic. The Riga-Stockholm line is due to start operating the day after tomorrow, and Tallink plans to acquire Finnish operator Silja... The Estonian company's success is a thorn in the Swedes' side. They make a big scandal about any accident in which the Estonian company is involved, while anything negative on the Swedish and Finnish side is covered up."

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