October 21, 2015 The Independent Barents Observer published the first articles. It was an unexpected development of a dismissal of an editor of the only bilingual (English-Russian) news website devoted to the problems of the European Arctic and Barents region, BarentsObserver.com Thomas Nielsen.
As the journalists working on the portal BarentsOberver.com came under attack on freedom of expression on the part of the owners of publishing — provincial administrations of Northern Norway, the new site focuses on the adherence to the principles of freedom of speech. Declaration of the Rights and Duties of the newspaper, adopted by the Association of Norwegian Editors in 1953, is posted on the wall in the office of the new editorial.
The editor of the Independent Barents Observer Thomas Nilsen and journalist Atle Staalsen commented on a new initiative in the interview with «7x7»:
"The name of your new media is specified as "public company". So is the Independent Barents Observer a commercial enterprise? Then who acts as the owner of the commercial structure, and where does the funding come from?"
"Yes, "AS" in the name of the company means that we are the commercial enterprise, the owners of which are the employees of this company. However, we want to note that the charter of our company has an indication that "the company was established not for the profit of owners". Thus, we argue that if our company will ever make a profit, it will be spent to achieve the main goal — the production of high-quality journalistic product in the Barents region. Today, we do not earn money. But we have freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom from any external owners and management."
"How many employees are working in publishing now and what are your future plans?"
"To date, there are only two of us, Thomas Nilsen and Atle Staalsen; we combine all the positions in publishing, journalistiс and administrative. Since we have no funding, it is difficult to predict how it will develop in the future. But there is hope that in the near future we will be able to attract more correspondents, including publishing texts in Russian. While we "learn to swim" and we hope that very soon we will make plans for the future with greater confidence."
Note also that the "old" site BarentsObserver.com, which is still controlled by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat, ceased to be updated on October 19. A member of the Barents Secretariat described the situation as "tense, with many uncertainties".
Gleb Yarovoy, «7x7»