Estonia’s Russian-speaking Audience’s Media Attitudes, Preferences and Susceptibility to the Spread of Fake News and Information Disorder in Media Outlets
University of Tartu, Estonia
ABSTRACT: A multiplicity of infospheres in a country, especially in those with a significant proportion of language minorities, creates polarization and distrust towards state institutions. This article addresses the problem by exploring the attitudes of Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority towards news media content regarding fake news and information disorder. The semi-structured interviews were conducted with Russian-speakers living in Estonia (N=29), using stimulus materials to induce reactions related to elements of trust in the materials. The results showed that the interviewees have—diverse media preferences, a critical eye for the news, more trust in Estonia’s Russian-language media, and are quite capable of recognizing fake news and information disorder. The study challenges the view that Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority lives in the isolated infosphere of Russia. The article argues that more attention should be drawn to information quality in the news aimed at this language minority audience.