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Estonian culture minister resigns over newspaper scandal

Dec 02, 2013
From wire reports, TALLINN

Estonian culture minister Rein Lang has submitted his resignation to prime minister Andrus Ansip, Public Broadcasting reports.

It follows after a scandal concerning Estonian culture newspaper Sirp. Members of the Social Democrat party say Lang allegedly used his political post to directly interfere with administrative decisions in the activities of an independent media publication. Lang has denied the claims. 

Lang said in his resignation speech at the parliament that he is not resigning because of what happened in the Sirp newspaper, nor because has made any fundamental mistakes in his job, but because it has become impossible for him to participate in the communication sphere of the Estonian society as a minister, Postimees Online reports. 

"As a government member, it is not possible to develop life further if all of your acts are stigmatised or ideas stuck to a pillory," said Lang.

"In many states there is discussion today over how to protect people's right to honour and dignity in the digital society that rushes at the speed of light. I think that it is high time for us to start these discussions.

Lang also criticised the Social Democrats who last week submitted a no confidence motion against him, that eventually failed, and the excessive rule of PR.

Prime minster Ansip will take the resignation to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on Wednesday, government communication unit says.

Ansip said that he is sad that Lang leaves the government as he has been a good team member with bold ideas and decisiveness to implement them.

Rein Lang has been a minister in Ansip's government since 2005. In 2005-2011, he was the justice minister, starting April 6, 2011, the culture minister.

Reform Party board will submit the candidate of the culture minister's post Wednesday morning.

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