To see elections in Scandinavian way with your own eyes, to follow the campaign, to personally meet representatives of political parties and to evaluate the work of the press in a difficult media period - such opportunity was given to a group of journalists from different cities of the North-West of Russia by the Nordic Journalist Center and the Regional Press Institute with the financial support of the Council of Ministers of the Nordic countries.
August 29 there was held a Skype conference of Barents Press Russia board. Met Journalists from Karelia, Arkhangelsk and Murmansk got together to discussed future plans and distributed the responsibility among the regional boards.
Karelian journalists nominate officials for "Gag" anti-award
Every year Karelian journalists honor their best-performing colleagues by giving them various prestigious awards. Also, they name the high-ranking government officials hampering the media's work.
The criteria for selecting nominees for the anti-award called "Gag" are fairly simple. Those officials who decline to comment on socially significant developments, or interfere with journalists' work, or hide behind their press services unaware that power structures must be transparent and fully open to public scrutiny, are all likely to be nominated for the anti-award.
This year's group of "Gag" nominees included Karelia's Culture and PR Minister Galina Brun; Finance Minister Sergey Mikhailov; Communal Reform Committee head Vladimir Koryagin; Construction Deputy Minister Alexander Yefimov; Chief Bailiff Yevgeny Dyogot and others. But the most frequently mentioned name was that of Anatoly Kovalenko, chief of Karelia's Consumer Rights Defense and Public Wellbeing Supervisory Service, and it was to him that the anti-award finally went based on the voting results.
When the names of the "Gag" nominees were made public, two of the agencies concerned (the Culture Ministry and the Bailiffs) called the Journalists' Union to find out why the journalists had so critically assessed their leaders' performance. That did not look like idle curiosity. Hopefully, the two high-ranking officials' names will not reappear on the list of "Gag" nominees next year.
Glasnost Defense Foundation staff correspondent