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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.
“We came to love all gray and colorful places in Murmansk”
Luleå Tekniska University placed in a little Northern Swedish town Piteå has for several years run an exchange program with the Murmansk Humanitarian University. In our school we have a couple of students from Russia and from Ukraine. This year I went with my fellow schoolmates to Murmansk.
Russian and Swedish students in Murmansk
First impression was “gray”
I went to Murmansk not knowing what to expect. I had never been there or anywhere else in Russia. I think all of us were a little bit stunned about how gray everything looked like. My reportage was going to be about freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Something that is interesting if nothing else for us that are studying to become journalists.
The freedom of press is an important piece in democracy. Especially since Media are in the country to write about the government and show the people the truth .
Body language in taxi
We were nine people that went to Murmansk to do reportages. It was a great variably of subjects that we all were going to do.
For example, Ylva Westerlund decided to write about theater and dolly theater.
- I love theater,- she tells me.
She has talked to actors in both the theaters . But her reportage will mostly be built around what she has seen and experienced in the city.
She tells me that the things she mostly will remember from the trip to Murmansk are taxi trips and how you could make yourself understood with only using body language.
Democracy in schools and hockey in Murmansk
Alexander Asklöf came to Murmansk to write about democracy in schools and the influence the students should have during their education.
- Democracy in school is important when it comes to the development of the school but it is also leads to a democracy thinking outside the school, -Alexander Asklöf says.
He went to a school and did interviews. After that Alexander realized that the school he visited did not have a working students democracy. According to him Russian students missed it even though some of them were afraid of what could happen if they would be critical towards the school leaders.
Caroline Sandelin wrote about ice hockey practice for children in Murmansk.
- I am interested in sports and Russia is good at sports,- Caroline Sandelin says.
She also wanted to see if the prejudice about how hard the young children drills are true.
She talked to parents, children and their coach about the practice and she has got a lot of information to her reportage.
At the end we came to love all the gray and the colorful places that do exist.
Next year we hope to have the exchange once again and hopefully we can return to Murmansk . It is a good experience to visit another country and another culture. And learn a little bit about their lives .
Susanna Larsson-Schulz, student