E-Eesti 2000-2012 välismeedia ja ekspertide võrdluses
This MA thesis „E-Estonia 2000-2012 in the comparison of foreign media and experts“ provides an overview of e-Estonia’s representation in foreign media in comparison with the view of experts. Under my observation is the period 2000-2012 because in 2000 Estonia, being the first country in the world, launched a project of paperless government office called “e-government”. The aim of this master’s thesis is to analyse how foreign media have depicted Estonia’s efforts in the development of an e-state and which developments and projects have been under the media’s attention during the period. My focus is addressed towards the comparison of media coverage and experts who have been involved in making Estonia well-known for its e-government. In order to achieve my goal I conducted a media content analysis based on “The Washington Post”, “The New York Times”, “The Guardian” and “The Economist”. I also carried out 9 expert- informant interviews with experts who have been engaged in the history of e-Estonia beginning with Estonia’s president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Expert interviews were analysed using qualitative data research. Foreign media and experts share different opinions about e-Estonia. While most media coverage is drawn on bringing out certain projects concerning Estonia’s e-government, experts put their attention on systematical change in Estonia’s society as a whole which made possible for Estonia to become an e-state. The qualitative data research brings out schemes, similarities, reasons and features of e-Estonia’s history and current situation. Findings also involved insufficiency in communication related to e-Estonia. The image about e-Estonia has evolved spontaneously without any central coordination from Estonia’s institutions. Estonia is known as the spokesman of cyber defence issues, but based on the media coverage, Estonia has lost her popularity as one of the most developed e-countries in the world. This opens up questions about the necessity of maintaining the image of an e-state. Experts share the opinion that such an image is essential for generating positive attention to a small country like Estonia. This attention can provide us with beneficial relations, security and advantages in economical growth. As most of the interviewed experts share the opinion that e-government is a characteristic success story related to Estonia, some find that this success story has never existed or is on the verge of a collapse. This brings out the idea that based on a person’s belonging to a certain community, experts see the success story differently. While media might not distinguish Estonia’s success story as an IT-tiger, the success story actually has developed and still continues to exist in different communities such as start-up communities or political-communities. In order to continue developing e-government and solutions characteristic to an e-state, Estonia must define its targets for the coming years. The success story of e-Estonia will depend on the cooperation of different institutions, spokespersons and a central coordination of communication which must also include national and international communication of e-Estonia.