Den engelsk- og russiskspråklige nettavisen BarentsObserver skal ikke lenger drives som en redaksjonell nettavis, men være et «informasjonsnettsted». Det vedtok eierne av Barentssekretariatet torsdag - de tre nordnorske fylkespolitikerne.
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Dette har skapt sterke reaksjoner, og fredag kom følgende uttalelse fra Barents Press International - et nettverk av journalister fra de fire landene i regionen. Uttalelsen er på engelsk og følger i sin helhet under:
Statement from Barents Press International, concerning the restriction of BarentsObservers' editorial freedom
Barents Press International, a journalist network in the four Barents countries Finland, Sweden, Russia and Norway, is deeply concerned about the decision to restrict the editorial freedom and journalistic independence of the news site BarentsObserver.
Over the last 12 years, BarentsObserver has become one of the major news sites for information about the Barents region, specializing in areas like climate and environment, politics, society, cross-border labor, business and the military.
Publishing in both English and Russian, its form is unique throughout the world.
The Norwegian Barents Secretariat controls BarentsObserver, and the three northernmost counties in Norway are the owners.
The Secretariat’s Owners Assembly members, consisting of regional politicians, this week approved a proposal prohibiting BarentsObserver from following editorial independence as stipulated in the Norwegian Rights and Duties of the Editor, a declaration agreed upon by The Association of Norwegian Editors and The Norwegian Media Business Association to ensure full editorial independence.
The pressure on media freedom in the Barents region has never been more severe.
An increasingly confrontational and difficult relationship between the West and Russia, with less confidence, creates challenges for cross-border journalists in the Barents. We are concerned about the increased state control over Russian media and self-censorship among Russian journalists.
Barents Press International strongly regrets that Norwegian politicians now want to control what BarentsObserver prioritize and publish. We urge the board of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat to reverse this decision and allow BarentsObserver to follow basic editorial principles ensuring a free and independent press – the cornerstone of a democracy.
Barents Press Russia
Barents Press Norway
Barents Press Sweden
Barents Press Finland