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NRK

Masked Russians seized our gear: Norway journos

Masked guards seized computers and storage devices from three Norwegian journalists on Tuesday and labelled them as spies as they attempted to leave the Crimean peninsula for mainland Ukraine.

Masked Russians seized our gear: Norway journos
Russian soldiers on March 4th 2014 in Perevalne, Crimea, Ukraine. Photo: Shutterstock

The three experienced journalists from public broadcaster NRK said they were stopped at an improvised checkpoint manned by 15 to 20 armed men wearing black masks and unmarked uniforms. The surrounding area was occupied by a further 100 to 150 troops, they said.

“The mood was extremely aggressive,” one of the journalists, Jan Espen Kruse, told NRK’s website.

“They stood there with their masks and loaded weapons and accused us of being spies.”

The guards confiscated three PCs, all the material the team had filmed, memory sticks, a small camera, as well as bulletproof vests and helmets they had with them for their personal safety, he added.

Kruse said some of the guards wore the uniform of the disbanded Ukrainian Berkut riot police but added he had no doubts as to their Russian identity.

“The people manning these checkpoints are Russian soldiers without any kind of insignia; they’re doing whatever they like,” he said.

“The Russians deny that these are their forces but the checkpoints are fully equipped with armoured personnel carriers, lots of soldiers and trucks, and they have dug trenches in the terrain. There’s a major offensive underway here and there’s nobody but the Russians behind it.”

After 30 to 45 minutes, the guards let the Norwegians drive on in their car. After driving a few kilometres through no man’s land they arrived at a second roadblock manned by Ukrainian troops who allowed them to pass without incident. 

Video: Vice News reporter and cameraman harassed at a Crimea checkpoint

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NRK

Norway TV flooded with complaints after Eid broadcast

Norway's broadcasting ombudsman has received close to a hundred complaints this week after state broadcaster NRK gave the Muslim Eid celebrations the sort of coverage normally given to Christmas.

Norway TV flooded with complaints after Eid broadcast
The Norwegian journalist Rima Iraki led the Celebration atfer the Fast programme. Photo: NRK
According to Erik Skarrud, the ombudsman's secretary, the organisation received 93 reports after the broadcast of “The Celebration after the Fast” on Sunday night, of which only a handful were positive. 
 
“Someone called it 'propaganda for Islam' and a large number of them used the same sort of expression. There's probably a text somewhere that people are cutting and pasting from,” he told Kampanje magazine.
 
Others complained they “did not want to pay for something that could lead to terror”. 
 
Over 300,000 people tuned in to watch the broadcast, which was helmed by the popular journalist Rima Iraki, the former presenter of NRK's Dagsrevyen news programme. 
 
Eirik Sandberg Ingstad, who led the project, said he felt the experiment, the first such broadcast by a major Western TV channel, had been a huge success. 
 
“We are pretty pleased with it. The response from the audience during and after the broadcast has been overwhelmingly positive, which indicates that we succeeded in creating a party where everyone felt welcome,” he told Kampanje. 
 
 
The controversy prompted Norway's culture minister Abid Raja to write an opinion article, “When can I say 'my Norway'?, on NRK complaining of people's unwillingness to accept Muslim citizens as truly Norwegian. 
 
He said that he himself had fasted on-and-off for Eid all his life, despite “not being the best Muslim in class”, and had found it emotional to see it celebrated by the nation. 
 
“It was a historic event when our public broadcaster, as the first in a western country, dedicated an evening to the celebration of the end of the fast,” he said. 
 
But that feeling had changed to “discomfort” as he learned of the complaints, he said, reminding him of the kind of abuse he received growing up in Norway, and still today as a minister: “You are not a Norwegian. This is not your Norway. Go back where you came from you Muslim bastard, you Paki.”  
 
He said he had always tried not to provoke those who felt only ethnically Norwegian should use the term. 
 
“For many years I lived with a kind of compromise. Instead of calling myself a 'Norwegian', I chose to use the terms 'new Norwegian' or 'brown Norwegian', in an attempt not to provoke people who are put out by me saying 'I am Norwegian',” he wrote.
 
But he said he wanted to change that. 
 
“I was born in Norway, in Oslo, and with the exception of one academic year in Oxford and one working year at the Norwegian Embassy in India, I have lived all my life in Norway,” he said. 
 
“My wife, Nadia, has too. My children are Norwegian. And I want to be buried in Norway when that day comes. From cradle to grave, I am Norwegian.”