“Independent cross-border journalism isn’t a crime, it builds on core democratic rights for freedom of the media,” says Thomas Nilsen.
The editor in February 2019 saw his independent online newspaper being blocked in Russia following a crack-down by Roskomnadzor, the Russian media regulating authority. It was a major blow to the small northern media that since its launch in 2002 has published in both English and Russian.
The blocking followed the publishing of an article about Dan Eriksson – an indigenous Sámi man who managed to accept his homosexual orientation and overcome psychological crisis. Roskomnazor argues that the story “propagates suicide.”
The repressive decision was in July 2019 appealed in court. After a loss, a new appeal was filed and subsequently rejected by the Moscow City Court in January 2020. In June 2021, the case was ultimately rejected by the Russian Supreme Court.
The case “Barents Observer vs Roskomnadzor” has been supported by Memorial, the Anti-Discrimination Center based in the Netherlands. It is lawyer Maksim Olenichev that is following up the case.
The “Barents Observer vs Roskomnadzor” is now taken to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“After all opportunities to achieve justice in Russia were exhausted, in August 2021, the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights was filed,” ADC Memorial says in a statement.