Free media on the scaffold

Press release from The Independent Barents Observer

Fundamental divides in regional societies and cross-border relations are growing. Russian state-building is increasingly at odds with the value systems of European neighbors. Proponents of human rights, freedom of speech and press freedom are under pressure and advanced state-sponsored disinformation efforts are seeping into the consciousness of people not only in Russia, but also across the borders to neighboring Scandinavia.

“Our report gives a picture about how the state continues to fasten its grip over Russian media, and also how it seeks to affect news makers abroad,” says report author Atle Staalesen.

The Barents Observer is itself an example of repressive policies supported by Russian authorities, he argues.

“As we show in this report, the actions aimed against our small newspaper based in Kirkenes, Norway, is illustrative for current developments in Russia and cross-border relations in the Barents region.”

The report is the third media analysis publication issued by the Barents Observer. In 2017, the small Norwegian media house issued the “Journalism in the Borderland. Barents Media Freedom 2017” and in 2016 came the “Barents Observer – the Process” (in Norwegian), the latter about how Norwegian regional politicians in the period 2014-2015 tried to halt the editorial freedom of the only Norwegian online newspaper that publishes in Russian.

Date of publication: 22 Nov 2019

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