Press release, Kirkenes, Murmansk, Luleå, Oulu, September 29th 2015
On Monday 28th of September, Thomas Nilsen was fired from his position as chief editor of the online news site BarentsObserver by the owners of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the three Northern Norwegian county administrations.
STATEMENT FROM BARENTS PRESS INTERNATIONAL, CONCERNING THE RESTRICTION OF BARENTSOBSERVERS' EDITORIAL FREEDOM
Murmansk mayor rejects accusations of censorship
“Censorship does not take place and never did.This is a political provocation! ''- Said the mayor of Murmansk Sergey Subbotin on a specially assembled today's press conference on the situation around the city newspaper Vecherny Murmansk.
Murmansk mayor Sergey Subbotin. Picture from Vecherny Murmansk paper
The editor Natalia Chervyakova publicly accused Murmansk mayor of banning publication of critical articles and censorship. She also alleged threats from the mayor addressed to her personally.
Sergey Subbotin categorically denied the charges and appealed to police on the fact of slander against the civil servant.
Sergei Subbotin told journalists about his vision of the situation:
- It's no secret that relationships between the city administration and some city council members are not good. This conflict is reflected in the media. The activity of the mayor is discredited, the situation in the city is covered in a negative way. I would like to avoid such one-sided coverage of the situation in the newspaper, which is an official organ.
I have been talking about the editorial policy, I met with the staff and the editor, but never put pressure on journalists. I once again advised the editor to read the Media Law, which states that the founders do not have the right to interfere in editorial policy.
The mayor also said that threats to personal security of the editor did not take place and could never do. According to him other members of the administration were present in the office during the conversation with Chervyakova. “Furthermore, the meeting was tape-recorded”, the mayor said.
He believes that justice bodies will soon find out the real story .
The situation around the newspaper Vecherny Murmansk will be discussed at tomorrow's board meeting of the Murmansk regional organization of Russian Journalists' Union.