For most people, both in the West and the former Soviet empire, the mass media is an important source of information about the environment, but little has been known about the ways in which environmental issues are treated in the mass media in the former communist states of East Europe. In this paper, articles dealing with environmental issues in the Estonian and Latvian press during 1992 and 1993 were analysed, and the type of problems dealt with in the articles, the sources of information used and the locations of the places referred to were examined. The results of this study show that a majority of the articles in the Estonian and Latvian press were concerned with environmental issues that were concentrated in a few places within these countries, and that when international issues were treated, these were localized to nearby European countries. Despite the existence of problems with air pollution, especially in the north-east of Estonia, these were seldom mentioned in the press. The main sources of information used in the articles were the authorities.