Barents Press International Board had a meeting in Saariselkä, Finland on 7-8 November. The main issues to discuss were Barents Press Russia activity after the founder and many years leader Elena Larionova’ going away and the coming Annual Conference – 2015.
On November 27-29, 2014 in Murmansk will host the VII international festival The Northern Character. It is organized by TV company "TV-21"and Production Center "Northern Character" with the support of the Russian Ministry of culture, Government of Murmansk region, Norilsk Nickel company, the Administrative Board of Norrbotten (Sweden), the Barents Secretariat, the Center for journalism in the Nordic countries, Murmansk Union of journalists, Barents Press and others.
Journalists of Karelia complain to Strasbourg
Nevertheless, thinking that Novaya Kondopoga had breached his constitutional right to the presumption of innocence, Tsymlyakov sued the newspaper and won the case in court, with RUR 30,000 awarded to him in moral damage compensation payable by NK and the article’s author.
The newspaper, in its turn, went through all the judicial channels protesting that decision and, having failed to find full justice at home, appealed to the European Court for protection. The journalists are convinced the said decision violates the principle of freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. One, the article was about a public figure (head of a state inspectorate), which category of persons the European Court had designated as the subjects of increased tolerance to criticism – a principle to be observed by the Russian courts, too, as “a must”. Two, the publication raised a socially important problem – the need to actively resist unlawful practices in view of the growing crime rate; and the author’s evaluative statements were backed with quotes from the files of a specific criminal case – the one opened on charges against I. Tsymlyakov. Besides, NK kept reporting on each subsequent court decision passed on his case, including the one mitigating punishment for the accused. The information contained in the publication was accurate as per the moment because the primary court ruling had indeed been passed by that time.
In view of all of the above, Novaya Kondopoga is fully justified in trying to defend its rights, including through appeals to the European Court. The legal follow-up of the complaint has been organized by Karelia’s Journalists’ and Media Rights Defense Center led by Elena Paltseva, with assistance from the republican branch of the Journalists’ Union of Russia.
Glasnost Defense Foundation staff correspondent