•   
  •   
  •   

WorldAn environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic

17:55  02 december  2018
17:55  02 december  2018 Source:   pri.org

Religious freedom at risk in one of five countries: report

Religious freedom at risk in one of five countries: report Religious freedom is under threat in one of every five nations around the globe, in part because of an increase in "aggressive ultranationalism", a Catholic NGO said in a report Thursday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Aid to the Church in Need found incidents of religious persecution in 21 countries in the two years to June 2018, including Niger, Myanmar, India and China. Acts of discrimination were reported in 17 other countries such as Algeria, Turkey and Russia, it said.

The paper keeps a close watch on the Russian Arctic because it’s part of the neighborhood, and because there’s a lot at stake there, for Russians and The newspaper publishes in both English and Russian and covers environmental issues in the Russian Arctic . Nilsen recently found out he was

An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic . Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's strict interpretations in previous rulings on environmental law indicate he will not support strong government action on climate change.

If you want to keep watch on what’s going on in the Russian Arctic, there might be no better perch than Kirkenes, Norway. It’s a tiny town in the country’s far northeast, on a section of the Arctic Ocean that Norway shares with Russia, known as the Barents Sea. And it’s where Thomas Nilsen lives and edits an online newspaper called The Barents Observer.

The paper keeps a close watch on the Russian Arctic because it’s part of the neighborhood, and because there’s a lot at stake there, for Russians and the rest of us.

“We have to remember that half of the Arctic is Russia,” Nilsen said. “And half of Russia is Arctic. And the majority of the population living in the circumpolar Arctic actually are [in Russia].”

There’s also a lot going on as the region warms up. If you’ve heard about something happening with climate change elsewhere in the Arctic, it’s happening in Russia, too — thawing permafrost, sea ice loss, deforestation, disruption of Indigenous communities; the list goes on and on.

Russia's ban on LGBTQ rallies violates rights, European court rules

Russia's ban on LGBTQ rallies violates rights, European court rules Russian authorities have been putting obstacles on LGBTQ rallies for years, and systematically turning down LGBTQ permit requests. The court said Russia's blocking of public LGBTQ events couldn't be justified by any concern about public disorder and it breached the right to freedom of assembly. The ban "had clearly been motivated by the authorities' disapproval of the theme of the demonstrations," the court concluded.

It’s no secret that for the last several years, Russia has invested heavily in its Arctic north — a reflection of the region’s growing commercial and strategic importance amid global warming It may have cost him his life. An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic .

An Environmental Newspaper Fights for Press Freedom in the Russian Arctic - Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting November 28, 2018. Paid journalism internships in reporting, radio, video and more are open now - Student Press Law Center November 28, 2018. Guardian journalists win at the Political

In fact, in true Russian style, these stories are often bigger and more dramatic there than anywhere else. In Siberia, for instance, thawing permafrost has caused methane to build up and explode out of the soil, opening up huge craters and sometimes releasing ancient anthrax spores.

Resource development in the area is heating up, too, along with all the risks that can come with it. The world's biggest, liquefied natural gas plant is in north-central Siberia, threatening the future of the Nenets, an Indigenous reindeer herding culture. There are huge oil and gas projects in the eastern part of the country, too, plus offshore oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. And some of the biggest companies in the Russian Arctic are also some of the region's worst polluters.

These are big stories, but outsiders, and many Russians, almost never hear about them. The Russian Arctic is a place that needs a lot more journalists asking a lot more questions. It's a place that needs people like Nilsen.

“We can help the rest of the world understand what’s happening up here by our reporting,” Nilsen said. “To go to the oil field or ... talk to the people living in the countryside or in the Russian Arctic, the Indigenous peoples on the tundra and so on.”

Wilder keeps heavyweight title, fights Fury to split draw

Wilder keeps heavyweight title, fights Fury to split draw Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought to a split draw Saturday night, with Wilder retaining his WBC heavyweight title after knocking down his British challenger twice.Wilder (40-0-1) floored

Tabloid news outlets are calling him the Russian Rambo. A Russian military spokesman at a base in Syria told several news outlets that a special forces lieutenant named Alexander Prokhorenko was killed in action An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic .

If Putin is pressed by a Russian journalist about an allegation of serious human rights abuse in Russia , he’s very unlikely to directly address the question. An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic . Spotify's Palestinian launch puts local artists on the map.

Nilsen has devoted much of his life to that kind of work. He’s been crossing the border to report on the western Russian Arctic for 30 years. But he says he’s not going back anytime soon. In March 2017, when he was on what he says was an ordinary trip into Russia, he was stopped at the border.

“[I was] taken aside, brought into a back room with a lot of officers who very politely, but still very strong, told me that I am no longer wanted in Russia,” he said.

Nilsen says he was told he poses a threat to Russia's national security, but exactly what kind of threat was a complete mystery to him.

“There was just a message coming up on ... the passport control computer when I tried to enter,” he said. “So, I had to hitchhike back a few hundred meters back to the Norwegian side of the border and have not been in Russia since then.”

The expulsion came as something of a shock.

“I have all my papers in order, my journalist visa, my accreditation to work as a reporter in Russia,” Nilsen said. “I've not even got a speeding ticket in Russia over this 30 years ... I haven't violated any visa regulations or any other Russian laws or regulations, not one single time.”

A few days later, the Russian embassy in Oslo issued a press release saying Nilsen was on a so-called “stop list,” meaning he was no longer welcome in the country, although still without explanation.

A 9-year-old boy convinces Colorado town to lift ban on snowball fights

A 9-year-old boy convinces Colorado town to lift ban on snowball fights A nine-year-old boy convinced his town in Colorado to lift a ban on snowballs, which had been classified as missiles.

An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic . Dozens of Indigenous women forcibly sterilized file a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian government. Indigenous chef Sean Sherman wants you to know the truth behind Thanksgiving.

Get news as it breaks from 1,000s of local, national and international sources - a one stop shop for news , sport, entertainment and business news - by NewsNow. TOP An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic Public Radio International16:45 26-Nov-18.

But Nilsen was unwilling to let the matter rest. He took the FSB — the Russian security service — to court. “To find out why I am denied entry to Russia,” he said. “And secondly, to get back my right to do my job as a journalist on Russian territory.”

Much like its Soviet predecessor, the KGB, the FSB has a shocking amount of power and operates mostly in secret. Just figuring out that the FSB was responsible for his expulsion took three court cases, Nilsen says. Eventually though, with help from a lawyer in Moscow, his case got a hearing. Of course, since he was banned from the country, he wasn't allowed to be there for any of it.

But he says the judge in the case did a good job.

“They listened to both parties’ arguments and so on,” he said. “But then came the surprise. The ruling by the court was kept secret. The arguments and the reasons why I am not allowed to enter Russia is kept secret from my lawyer ... that is a clear violation of the Russian constitution.”

Nilsen appealed the ruling all the way to the Russian Supreme Court, but the court ruled for the FSB. It said Nilsen does pose a threat to Russia, and that the FSB doesn’t have to reveal what that threat is.

Again, Nilsen didn’t stop pushing back. He's taking the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

With so much secrecy, Nilsen can’t say for sure what his expulsion is all about, but he has a hunch.

“Every society that has leaders who are on the paths of totalitarian systems are afraid of the freedom of speech,” he said. “They are afraid of free journalism. So, I think that the main reason why the media in Russia and also the Barents Observer here, covering cross-border issues with Russia, is under attack is because they’re afraid.”

Ricky Williams, Terrell Owens among 50 former players launching Freedom Football League

Ricky Williams, Terrell Owens among 50 former players launching Freedom Football League The AAF and XFL aren’t the only upstart leagues bidding for a place in the football landscape. 

Russia had just concluded a successful but expensive war against Turkey, and it was also putting out the last flames of a peasant and Cossack revolt in the south, the so-called Pugachev rebellion. More from this program. An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic .

Germany has mobilized troops in the Baltics in anticipation of a Russian land grab, a la Crimea, but the government has not acted on proposals to increase investment in the force’s notoriously lackluster weaponry. An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic .

Afraid, perhaps, because there's a lot that people could be angry about in the Russian Arctic. In one region, waste from a nickel mining company has heavily contaminated more than a thousand square miles of forest. An outside watchdog group has twice listed the area as one of the top 10 most polluted places in the world. Meanwhile, near Murmansk, just across the border from Norway, one recent study found dangerously high levels of heavy metals in local residents.

Almost all of the big companies moving into the Russian Arctic have close ties to President Vladimir Putin's regime, and they don't take kindly to reporters trying to hold them accountable — especially reporters like Nilsen who are attempting to inform actual Russians.

Some outside journalists still travel throughout Russia, and report on corruption and repression, but The Barents Observer is one of the very few that publishes in Russian, with the express intention of trying to provide independent journalism to the Russian people themselves. Nilsen says the outlet has thousands of readers within Russia.

His expulsion wasn’t the first time The Barents Observer has been harassed by the Russian government, he says, even though the publication is tiny, with a full-time staff of two. In 2014, officials accused the Observer of being a mouthpiece for the Norwegian government and the FSB directly requested that Norwegian officials close the paper down.

“The Norwegian officials responded that, 'Ah, that's not the way it work[s] in Norway,'” Nilsen said. “We have the media freedom and authorities never interfere.”

For Nilsen, this fight is about a lot more than his own freedom to report in Russia.

Putin began cracking down on independent journalism almost immediately after being elected in 2000, and ever since, reporters who write critical stories have had a tendency to die under mysterious circumstances. A few months ago, three Russian journalists were murdered, and when an activist tried to investigate their deaths — and potential Kremlin connections — he was poisoned but survived. The Committee to Protect Journalists lists Russia as No. 11 on its Global Impunity Index, meaning that it's rare for anyone to be held accountable when Russian journalists are killed or attacked.

A Russian Orthodox priest says he will 'pay penance' after flaunting Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags on Instagram

A Russian Orthodox priest says he will 'pay penance' after flaunting Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags on Instagram A Russian Orthodox priest deleted his Instagram account and apologized for posting photos with products from Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

An environmental newspaper fights for press freedom in the Russian Arctic . The Barents Observer keeps a close watch on the Russian Arctic because it’s part of the neighborhood, and because there’s a lot at stake there, for Russians and the rest of us.

All of this violence and intimidation of the media has huge implications for Russians first and foremost, but Nilsen says it also matters to anyone who wants to try to understand the Russian Arctic. He says the media is needed there to serve its traditional role of ferreting out corruption and highlighting marginalized voices.

“The most untold stories that we really want to [do] are the consequences for the locals living in areas where big oil is moving in, or where the military start to rebuild their facilities,” he said. “The media's role of being the voice of like, Indigenous reindeer herders, that is what I'm most scared that we are lacking ... and that is that is what journalism is all about. It's about being inside and being able to see a story from different perspectives and that is the more difficult [thing] to do today in northern Russia.”

But Nilsen remains hopeful that things can change in the Russian Arctic.

“The day we lose the hope, then it’s a kind of game over,” he said. “So, of course, we do have hope.”

Nilsen and his colleagues have created a symbol of that hope — and their determination — in the offices of The Barents Observer in Kirkenes. It’s a slightly dressed-up version of a plastic Russian doll called a nevаlyashka, with huge green eyes and a red, round body.

If you try to knock it down, the doll bobs back up.

“You cannot tip it over,” Nilsen said.

Observer staffers stuck a sign on the belly of the doll that says, “Try to tip over freedom of expression and see what happens.”

“You can try to tip over free journalism,” Nilsen said, “but we will always come up again.”

Read more in The Big Melt series: As the Arctic warms up, a 'new ocean' is bringing new commerce to the top of the world and Ice is us: Alaska Natives face the demise of the Arctic ice pack and The Arctic's Sámi people push for a sustainable Norway and Arctic permafrost is starting to thaw. Here’s why we should all care. and An Alaskan village is falling into the sea. Washington is looking the other way. and In Iceland, a shifting sculpture for a changing Arctic or take our Arctic quiz.

A Russian Orthodox priest says he will 'pay penance' after flaunting Gucci shoes and Louis Vuitton handbags on Instagram.
A Russian Orthodox priest deleted his Instagram account and apologized for posting photos with products from Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!