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.
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