The Estonian Constitution, adopted by the people of Estonia in the referendum held on June 28th 1992, states in the preamble:
“With unwavering faith and a steadfast will to strengthen and develop the state –
- which embodies the inextinguishable right of the people of Estonia to national self-determination and which was proclaimed on February 24th 1918,
- which is founded on liberty, justice and the rule of law,
- which is created to protect the peace and defend the people against aggression from the outside, and which forms a pledge to present and future generations for their social progress and welfare,
- which must guarantee the preservation of the Estonian people, the Estonian language and the Estonian culture through the ages.”
The Constitution guarantees among fundamental freedoms and rights the freedom of speech, self-expression and self-realisation. People can freely disseminate ideas, opinions, beliefs and other information by word, print, picture or other means. This right may be circumscribed by law to protect public order, public morality, and the rights and freedoms, health, honour and good name of others. There is no censorship.
Everyone has the right to education. Education for school-age children is compulsory to the extent specified by the law, and is free of charge in general schools established by the national government and by local authorities. Everyone has the right to be taught in Estonian. The language of teaching in national minority educational institutions is chosen by the educational institution.
According to the Constitution, science and art and their teachings are free, universities and research institutions are autonomous within the limits prescribed by the law.
The rights of an author in respect of his or her work are inalienable. The national government protects authors’ rights.
The Constitution guarantees for everyone to have the right to preserve his or her ethnic identity. National minorities have the right, in the interests of their culture, to establish self-governing agencies under such conditions and pursuant to such procedure as are provided in the National Minorities Cultural Autonomy Act.