Barents Press: Strongly regrets political control of BarentsObserver

The network of Russian, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish journalists urge to reverse the decision to limit the editorial freedom of BarentsObserver.

In a joint statement on Friday, the journalist network says BarentsObserver should be allowed to follow basic editorial principles ensuring a free and independent press.

“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 points to Thursday’s decision by the Secretariat’s Owners Assembly members to restrict the newspaper’s editorial rights and mandate to follow principles of free press. 

“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,” Barents Press the statement reads.

Barents Press underlines that 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.”

All the four national Barents Press networks in Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland points to the fact that a free and independent press is a cornerstone in a democracy.