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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.
The State of ''ordinary people''
A dialogue on journalism and human rights
This topic, traditionally in Russia, seems to be as something abstract construction that has a sense in certain high official areas and loses it while being closer to a real life.
Elena Larionova from Barents Press Int. correctly noted: ''It is unlikely that we will remember at least one seminar or conference on human rights having organized its own, and not with the support from international organizations.
Another question – what was the reason of appearing in our society a rooted legal inertness? Does Russia resemble the ship, where its passengers are asked from another ship passengers: ''Guys, you're drowning, do something!''. And we: ''Don’t worry! Everything is ok, we have modernization, nanotechnology, and the Sochi Olympics ... sorry, we cant hear you ... ''
A bit of history and a controversial debate on real rights
Deputy Secretary general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal talked about the history of the Helsinki Committee, Human Rights in international aspect and, of course, about freedom of speech and the role of the media.
Is the right for education and work guaranteed? Do journalism and PR associated? What is the role of media in democratic society? – There were given different points of view on these issues, including extremely opposite.
Should journalism be oppositional?
''Journalism can not be right or oppositional, it can only be a professional or not professional'' - critically noted Yuri Vdovin – The Deputy Chairman of human rights organization Citizen Watch (St. Petersburg).
In the context of his speech there was touched a problem of tough and controversial phenomenon of modern Russia: the violence against journalists and their psychological ''enslavement'', the so-called ''imitative nature of democracy” and other taboo topics, expelled from the federal and regional mass media on the vast network.
Continuing the theme of objectivity and impartiality, another guest of the seminar, Morten Ruud - the correspondent from Norwegian broadcasting company NRK in Moscow, shared his experience. The heroes of his stories were Georgian refugees from South Ossetia, the citizens of Sochi with their six hundred squares, who disturb the process of building Olympic facilities and even Victor Yarantsev, with its apocalyptic Teriberka, demanding with a smile 300 million crowns compensation for offence, from the Norwegian coast guard.
Behind the backstage of any seminar there is always something interesting.
In our case, the most popular question was: ''Who are, indeed, these simple people''?
What do you think about this version: a simple man - is a collective image, not associated with the material situation or social status, because he can be described just by one feature - a thoughtless consumption of information without attempt for critical evaluation.
Then it becomes clear that the most preferable state where human rights can be easily influenced, attaching to them ''federal, regional and municipal factors'' - is a state of ordinary people.
So, appealing to the opinion of ordinary people, it seems that we often talk to each other.
Vladimir Kostrov, Murmansk Humanities Institute. ( short version is published)
Author’s photo of seminar participants and trainers.
The seminar was organized by Barents Press, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Murmansk Humanities Institute
Translated by Irina Bykova