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
Bodø: overcoming kilometers and language barrier
It happened so that only Karelian delegation was presenting Russian journalists at the Annual Barents Press Conference in Bodø (Norway).
The Iceland volcano played a bad trick with our colleagues from Murmansk and Archamgelsk. So we felt special responsibility as many items under discussio were about the stituation in Russian journalism.
From Oulu to Bodø we travelled together with Finnish and Swedish journalists. Together we overcame many kilometres way and the language barrier as well. Some of us have already participated in suich meetings, others had the first experience of meeting colleagues within Barents Press at the Conference. Their impressions are the freshest.
Anna Usova, Radio Karelia, national languages broadcasting:
– It's for the first time that I met journalist from several countries in one place. I have heard about Barents Press before but it's in Bodø that I could see with my own eyes and understand what is done and what problems are discussed. I was especially interested in the main topic of the Conference – security and defence in the North. Russian TV covers the topic, and I was interested to hear Norwegian colleagues’ opinions. It's nice to be aware of the Norwegian part's interest to have good-neighbourly relations. At the Conference students from Norway presented their project supported with Barents Scholarship 2009. They did an interesting investigation in Russia. With some conclusions I can't but agree though there were points to be argued. Papers have lost some subscribers but as to the national languages press in Karelia the readers’ interest ti it grows every year. More people write to these papers and magazines to share opinions about current problems. It's only thanks to papers and TV and radio programs in Karelian, Finnish and Vepsan that people in remote places can get information in their native languages.
I speak Finnish and so it was easy for me to associate with colleagues from Suomi and some from Sweden. They were interested in my work as a radio correspondent and also the present state of literature in national languages and how much it's in demand.
Grigory Voevidin, Autoradio, Petrozavodsk:
– Perhaps the most impressive was the way. You can see it for yourselves: 13 plus 14 hours of just travelling one way and exactly the same – backward! Can't say I'm sorry about that. On the contrary. It IS my specificity, my element, my topic! So alongside with being tired I exercised real pleasure from what I saw and felt on the way to the Conference and back.
As to the meeting itself ... I feel terribly sorry that people from Murmansk and Archamgelsk didn’t reach Bodø. I was looking forward to talk to them probably aiming some mutual projects. But I did bring some ideas and observations from Bodø. I won't lay my cards on the table before hands but it seems to me that we'll meet again many times. Thanks a lot to the organizers for the work done! Would awfully like to be up to quality!
Valentina Bogdanova, paper TVR-Panorama:
– It's my first experince with Barents Press Conference. Meeting with foreign colleagus has left very nice remembrance. I would like to greatly thank to the Norwegians who organized this wonderful trip. Everything was on the highest level. For the short time at the Conference we managed to work fruitfully and also rest. The brightest impressions are from the boat trip to Varren. It's really a pity not all Russians could come to Bodø. We even joke among us about a new sign: journalists prepare for going to Barents Press Conference – expect the volcano eruption. I hope our colleagues from Murmansk and Archangelsk will have their luck. Thank you all for amicability and wish none Ejafjallajokull (we have learned the name by heart) will ever prevent us from meeting each other!
Tatiana Polkova, Radio Karelia:
– I have great hopes that Bodø has become the starting point for new projects. The BP intrnational board was presented a new crossborder Internet project by Anatoly Tsygankov. It'll be discussed at the nearest Board meeting in October. Besides our colleagues from Joensuu, Finland, Journalistic Union proposed to hold seminars with Karelian journalists. In the hearest future we shall plan the first meeting which is suggested to hold in Joensuu.
Many thanks to the Norwegian journalists for hospitality, an intersting program and big work done to prepare the Conference.
Photo: Valentina Bogdanova and Ekaterina Gabalova at the Conference