Avalikud pöördumised: kolm juhtumit aastatest 2005-2008
This master’s thesis gives an overview of the theoretical basis of public letters as means of achieving the aims of the civic society. Based on three case studies, this master’s thesis examines the nature and extent of the effects of these public letters. In the theoretical part of the thesis, modern theories on mass media and the society were examined to use them as a basis of creating a possible model of effect of public letters, which would causally bind the sender, the channel and the receiver of the public letter. In the empirical part of this master’s thesis, case study method was used to determine the model of the mechanism of effect of public letters by juxtaposing and analysing three public letters: „Usuvabadusest ja usu(ndi)õpetusest“ (“Of freedom of belief and religious education”, 2005), „Toetades Ilvest, aitame Eestit!“ (“By supporting Ilves, we help Estonia!”, 2006) and „Avalik pöördumine Vabadussõja võidusamba sellisel kujul ehitamise vastu“ (“A public letter against constructing the War of Independence Victory Column according to the winning design” 2008). The objects of analysis in each of the three cases were the drafter of the text and the drafter’s vision, the text itself and the reflections on the text in the media. The aim of the comparison was to detrmine the model of the course of the discussion as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the claims stated in the public letter. The case studies revealed that out of the three public letters examined, only one public letter achieved its aim fully. However, a common characteristic of all the public letters was that, in addition to initiating a discussion in media channels on the topic covered in the public letter, they also initiated a wider discussion on the role of the civic society. The cases analysed in the course of this research revealed that a public letter may not always be the most fruitful means of achieving one’s will. The public letters did, however, justify the drafters’ expectations regarding the public letters’ role as the concentrator of the public’s attention, the initiator of discussions and an instrument for expressing the will of the citizens. The case studies also revealed that in the process of the operation of the public letter, the claims stated do not always remain on the paper since public officials and authorities may see the drafters of the public letters as credible discussion partners.