Presidentide Lennart Meri ja Arnold Rüütli representatsioon Eesti ja Soome trükimeedias riigivisiitide kajastamisel Soome



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The goal of this Bachelor’s Degree Thesis was to analyse the representation of President Lennart Meri and President Arnold Rüütel in the Estonian and Finnish printed mass media in the course of reporting on their state visits to Finland. The conducted content analysis covered four Estonian weekly and daily newspapers and three Finnish weekly newspapers, totalling 50 articles. An additional analysis was carried out of articles published immediately after the presidential elections (the sample has 69 articles) for the purpose of mapping out the representation of the presidents in the same channels after the presidential elections and compare it to that established during state visits. When Lennart Meri was elected President, the domestic media was discreet in reflecting the news. But when Arnold Rüütel was elected President, the media reacted to the event in an extremely active manner. Here the author would like to point out that several Estonian newspapers had special presidential election columns. The opposite was true of the state visits – that made to Finland by Lennart Meri was reflected in a more active manner than the state visit of Arnold Rüütel. The latter was never front page news in Estonian newspapers. The Finnish printed media reflected the presidential election results and the state visits in a relatively similar manner – no such remarkable differences can be noted as the ones observed in the Estonian printed media. In both cases, the dedicated positive attitude of the Finnish media toward Lennart Meri should be stressed. The topics reflected during the state visit of the President in 1995 differ somewhat from those discussed in 2001 as certain changes took place during those six years in Estonia and Finland, as well in the world as a whole. The most remarkable change can be observed in the topic columns on “culture and history.” Namely, in 1995 such topics had been of vital importance in the printed media of both countries, while in 2001 their importance receded almost to zero. A closer examination of the newspaper articles indicates that during the state visit of 1995 the stress was more on the history of Estonia and Finland as two kindred nations, the first President of Estonia and the period that had passed since his visit. Also, the schedule for Lennart Meri contained more cultural events than the state visit of 2001. It is interesting to observe that in 2001 the Estonian and Finnish media displayed more unity in the topics reflected than they had in 1995. The active attitude of the Estonian media was noteworthy regarding the topic of medals – surprisingly, during both state visits. When comparing media reflections in the two countries, one difference between the domestic and foreign newspapers is the presence or lack of accusatory and ironic stories. During neither of the visits did the Finnish printed media have negative-attitude stories related to the visit of our President. The optimistic and satisfied Finnish attitude of 1995 changed into a neutral one in 2001, with no more impassionate stories, although the relations between the two countries remained excellent. Nor could such impassionate stories be found in the Estonian printed media in 2001 – here the state visit reflection also became more diplomatic. The greatest difference in the Estonian and Finnish media was that of quoting the Presidents. The Finnish printed media’s quotations of the Presidents during the two state visits total 128 sentences in the analysed articles. The domestic media deemed it necessary to quote the Presidents during the same period with only 53 sentences. The attitude toward the President during the corresponding state visit was generally the same both in Estonia and Finland. The President as the representative of the state and simultaneously an exciting personality – this was the picture of Lennart Meri in the media of both countries. President Meri was represented in his presidential institutional capacity and as a personality in the Estonian and Finnish media. On the contrary, the picture of President Arnold Rüütel during his state visit was discreet. President Rüütel in the Finnish media is primarily the President of Estonia, without an outstanding personality, and the attention given to him cannot be compared to the attention enjoyed by President Meri. The Estonian media never praises Rüütel by quoting an opinion leader – he is only praised for being in the right place at the right time.


H Social Sciences (General), bakalaureusetööd, ajakirjandus, trükiajakirjandus, presidendid, riigivisiidid, Eesti, Soome, Meri, Lennart, 1929-2006, Rüütel, Arnold, 1928-