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
Nine journalists from Barents Russia participated in study visit to Norway within a programme “Oil and gas industry development. Norwegian - Russian cooperation.”
The journalists visited many industrial objects, parliament, MFA, municipalities in Hammerfest, Stavanger and Oslo. They also met with the colleagues in different Norwegian newsrooms. Journalists Olga Karpenko from “Dvazhdy Dva” newspaper, Murmansk region, Apatity and Maria Romanova from “Severny rabochy”, Arkhangelsk region, Severodvinsk share their impressions:
– I came home “updated”.
Photo: Olga Karpenko
– I couldn’t even imagine how interesting the trip might be. I returned home a new person – new skills and ideas, new wishes (as an example to study English). I hope these all may help me to be a professional reporter.
In a short period of time I got acquainted with many interesting people, and this is worth it. Communication with the colleagues from the group is one more good experience that I had. How much I got to know about Norway! I just fell in love with this country.
Such a seminar is a good ability to evaluate the citizens’ standard of living and the usage of new technologies in the development of gas and oil field. Today Stockman development is a talk of our country. In the settlement of Teriberka some construction has already been started, Norwegian companies experience is very important.
Good that they invite us, tell us a lot and answer our questions.
In every city we have visited newsrooms – Finnmark Dagblad – in Hammerfest, Stavanger Aftenblad – in Stavanger and Aftenposten – in Oslo.
Norwegian journalists consider themselves the most independent and free in choosing themes and publications. It was nice to realize that the work of the reporters from the Dvazhdy Dva newspaper, where I work, is similar to the Norwegian one. Though, their newspapers’ history is decade or even hundred years older. Just right this thing during the meetings with Norwegian editors became for me the main discovery.
-Being graduated of the journalism department of Lomonosov university in Archangelsk I am not surprised at some unusual way of work of the Norwegian colleagues. Having studied media course of Scandinavian countries I knew some issues. I am not surprised at their code of ethics, where it is clearly written that a journalist can’t be at the same time an author of the advertising text, he doesn’t have a right to carry out an order of the third person, intervention of sponsors or other people into the editorials’ work or the articles’ constituency is prohibited. But these rules are too different in comparison with our reality.
I am surprised at the fact that the majority of Norwegians read papers. This statistics says that 70-80% of citizens constantly read newspapers. So, nothing left but envies such a great reader demand.
It was interesting to get to know how they support the readers’ interest. Newspapers go with the times: internetjournalism is being actively developed, on-line versions are put in websites, special versions for mobile phones are being worked out.
They also think a lot how to attract and hold the young audience.
Kjell Dragnes, the editor of the international department of Aftenposten, has told us that in their newspaper (the largest in Norway) there is a special youth section, the name of which is marked out by the smiles. According to him this section is in the demand among the readers. The youth consider printing their thoughts in newspaper more important than putting them in the social nets or blog.
Perhaps soon the popularity of “blogging” in Russia will decrease and the youth will choose printed media.
Yet, a man with newspaper is a rare case in Russia. In Norway it is easy to found out its citizens: having a breakfast one often reads a fresh newspaper.
I think that this experience we have to adopt.
The only thing that can’t be suitable for us are the articles on global topics in local newspapers. As an example our Severodvinsk Severny Rabochy paper will never cover some countries’ president’s arrival or the consequences of the hurricane in another part of the world.
This study visit gave us one more chance to insure that we are different but we have to take something over from each other.
The course was arranged by Consult Inform, head Elnar Seljevold and Barents Press with the support of Norway MFA, Statoil, Great Stavanger Region, Hammerfest municipality and Techno park. This was the fourth study course on Oil and Gas Industry: Norwegian – Russian cooperation.
Translated by Irina Bykova