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In a time where freedom of information is on decline all around the world, the Nordic states remain on top of the list over countries with the highest level of press freedom.
Hundreds of Norwegians and Russians arrived in the first week of February in the town of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norway border to see the spectacular installations, to visit unusual exhibitions and to speculate about the future of the Arctic territories at the international art festival Barents Spektakel.
Annual conference of the BPI was held in Levi
6-8 may, 2011, in ski centre Levi in the north-west of Finland the annual conference of the international journalist project Barents Press International took place. It was attended by about 100 journalists of the Barents region from Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia, as well as guests from Canada.
BPI Chairman Robert Sandström opens the Conference
The focus was made on prospects and problems of the industrial, tourist and media development in Barents and Arctic regions, logistics on this territory. Many of the topics we will further raise on the BPI Web-ste.
Ambassador for Arctic Affairs from Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland Hannu Halinen, Director of Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland Paula Kankaanpää and Head of the Swedish Barents Sekretariat Per Wallen spoke at the Arctic session.
Elena Larionova (Russia) and Arne Store (Norway) spoke about media development in Barents region
Pavel Gutiontov, Secretary of the Russian Journalist Union, gave regional media picture
Suurikuusikko mine is in the lens of journalists
Samia Madwar and Ora Morison from Canada
In recent years, Barents Press makes a great emphasis on attracting the younger generation to the dialogue and cooperation. In the previous meetings in conjunction with the general conference a special youth session was organized. This time students and young journalists held separate meetings in the evenings and during the whole day they participated in general sessions and discussions. Reports of young participants were also included in the overall programme.
Student of Petrozavodsk state university Margarita Bogdanova conducted a study among young people from Karelia, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk on whether they are aware of the projects in the Barents region and cooperation. It turned out, very little. The most informed students are those from departments of journalism.
Esa Viippola from Finland just surprised all, saying that journalism of the Barents region does not exist. He noted that universities do not train journalists for the Barents region, in the north of Finland there are no places for practice of students-journalists, for this they have to go to the south of the country. At the same time, Esa was sure that in the north there are much more opportunities to express themselves in this profession.
Adam W. Zetterqvist from Sweden is not a fresher at BPI conferences, he proposed a number of new projects, including the creation of a photobook of the Barents region in the Internet. One of the youth projects is already operating: on May 9 in the social network Facebook the group B.P.Y. Barents Press Youth was created by Iikka Kivi. Nearly a hundred and a half people have joined it within 3 days.
Chairmanship in BPI is passed for 2 years to Morten Ruud, Norway
Next BPI Annual Conference is to take place in Umea, Sweden.
Photo and text by Tatiana Polkova