Rules of Procedure

EPC shall be capable to adjudicate if at least half of the members and either the chairman or one of the two vice-chairmen are present.

EPC shall examine both the complaints received and the cases on their own initiative. EPC shall examine all received evidence and shall decide whether it would be a subject within the competence of EPC.

If the complaint remains clearly out of the competence of EPC, the chairman shall have the right to reject the complaint. The applicant shall have the right to protest the decision of the chairman and to strive for examination of the complaint by the whole EPC.

The chairman, vice-chairmen and the assistant may take steps in order to conciliate the parties involved. If it does not have any effect within one month, the complaint shall be examined as usual.

EPC shall not examine the case when:

  • the case is already heard in the court or is under police investigations
  • the case has no connection to media matters
  • it is obvious that it is a legal pleading
  • the subject of the complaint cannot be determined
  • the contents of the complaint is indecent
  • the complaint is anonymous.

The applicant shall be informed of the reasons for rejecting the complaint without examination.

EPC may examine the case on the request of the law court.

EPC shall examine the materials published (broadcasted) no earlier than six months ago. On their own initiative EPC may also examine materials published earlier.

The case can be examined if all the parties involved have given their comments to the case. The case may be examined without these explanations and objections if they were not given within one weeks. EPC invites the parties or other people involved to the hearing, if necessary.

The meeting of EPC is conducted by the chairman (in his absence one of the vice-chairmen). The adjudication shall be made by voting when at least one of the members wishes it. The decision shall be made with simple majority of votes. In the case of an equal division of votes the chairing person shall have the decisive vote.

Non-members of EPC shall have the right to participate in the meeting when permitted or invited by the chairing person.

The adjudication shall be worded and signed within 10 days after making it. After signing, the adjudication shall be sent to the parties involved and put on the Internet within one day. The adjudications are also circulated to the members of the member organisations of the NGO "Avalik Sõna".

Generally, a single complaint shall be examined and adjudicated within six months.

In case the complaint was upheld, the newspaper/station has the priority to print/announce the full text of the adjudication within 7 days. If the media organisation does not follow that rule, EPC shall make the adjudication public by other means of mass communication. EPC may drop the obligation to print the adjudication to protect the private life of the individuals concerned.

If the adjudication on the upheld case is of public interest, EPC shall inform the media of the fact that the case has been upheld. It is the prerogative of the critisized newspaper/station to make the text of the adjudication public within 7 days. The case not upheld shall be public immediately after the adjudication is signed.

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