The festival of documentary films and television programs "Northern Character-2015" will be held 26-28 November in Murmansk at several cultural and artistic sites involving in its orbit people of different ages, occupations and interests.
The Russian legislation on mass media is becoming tougher and more extensive. How can journalists and media work under the circumstances – this was in the focus of discussion at the seminar the Center for Defense of Rights of Journalists and Media (project Barents Press – ed.) held in Murmansk.
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” - Saint Augustine
Barents Press Sweden has with support by the Swedish Institute and the Northern County Administrative Boards in Sweden been able to travel to Kirkenes and Murmansk. The main focus was to visit and meet with Norwegian and Russian journalists working in the Barents region.
Barents Mediasphere planning has started
For many years there have been talks on trying to find some financing mechanism to help journalist cooperation in the Barents Region. Now these talks are moving closer to reality.
The Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland (Rovaniemi, Finland) has together with partners TV Murman, BarentsObserver and Luleå Technical University (Department of Music and Media in Piteå) started to plan the Barents Mediasphere project. Barents Press Russia and Finland have also been actively involved. First step is to write an application to the Kolarctic ENPI – program for three years financing.
The Arctic Centre is coordinating the project and it is lead by Markku Heikkilä, who last winter started to work there as the head of science communications.
The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has given Arctic Centre some money that the Ministry uses for bilateral cooperation between Finland and North-West Russia. This money can be used during this year to prepare the Kolarctic ENPI application. A Barents Press veteran Maija Myllylä is now writing the application on behalf of the Arctic Centre. These resources are needed because these applications are very complex with endless rules and details.
Maija Myllylä, Markku Heikkilä and Elena Larionova are ready to collaborate within the project.
It is not yet clear if the application is going to be approved and if the Barents Mediasphere project can really start. The deadline for Kolarctic applications has lately moved from November 2010 to February/March 2011 and after that it takes time to get the answers.
If the Barents Mediasphere is approved, it can not directly help Barents Press activities. Mediasphere is not Barents Press. But there will be many close links and benefits to journalist cooperation in the Barents.
First planning meeting was hold in Rovaniemi on August 16th with Arctic Centre, BarentsObserver, TVMurman and BP Russia. It was a very fruitful meeting with a lot of ideas for journalist and media activities in the Barents Region: networking, courses, contents, information flow and so on. Many of these ideas were originally planned already a year ago in the Barents Press board meeting in Saariselkä when Arctic Centre staff first presented this possibility – which originates from Barents Press Finland.
Next planning meeting will be held on late October in Murmansk.
Barents Mediaspheres Meeting in Rovaniemi.
Hosting Barents Mediasphere suits well to the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland because it already has many Barents information tasks and activities. The Arctic Centre has an information services agreement with International Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes. Due to this it hosts the official Barents Council site and also keeps the information site.
In addition the Arctic Centre is actively negotiating about the possible EU Arctic Information Centre status. There are no any EU decisions yet but if both are realized, EU Arctic Information Centre and Barents Mediasphere and other Barents information activities can have much synergy.
The Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland
Photo: Anna Shumigai