mandag 12. juli 2010

Monitoring, Sami people and freedom of expression

Ole Henrik Magga is Norway's most respected Sami politician. Did he participate in an illegal blasting of a bridge in Skibotn in Troms in 1975? Did he have a key role in a Sami rebel group that would use illegal means to achieve their goals?
The Norwegian Police Surveillance Agency, POT, believed so and created a file on him. Many Sami were arrested by the police after the bridge was destroyed, yet, it later appeared that the bridge simply may have been taken by the spring flood. Perhaps there never actually was a sabotage…

Five years later Magga earned a lot of trust (by both the mainstream society as well as other Sami) for his handling of the conflict around the development of the Alta-Kautokeino watercourse. Hunger strikes and civil disobedience actions were taking a hold. Distrust between mainstream society and the country's indigenous population was almost complete. The suspected bridge-blaster became the bridge-builder who subdued conflict and initiated constructive talks between the parties.

Ten years ago the Norwegian Parliament decided that people who thought they had been monitored and had a file, could apply for seeing it. If the police had used illegals methods to obtain information in their work, f.ex. phonetapping or mailcontroll, people could get a symbolic compensation.
I was one of three people who decided about c ompensation, and therefore I hade seen 4-5000 files.

One must be careful to review old events through the lenses of hindsight. But Magga's file illustrates one of the things that struck me most during my eight years in the Access Reviewing Committee on Norwegian Police Security: The police’s methods were extremely amateur. In many cases there was general suspicion of groups left of the Labour Party thus leading to registration of many groups.

Ole Henrik Magga’s only task when the registration began was being the chairman of the Sami language council. Thus, the police obtained information from ordinary meetings about Sami language issues.

Journalist Johs. Kalvemo of the Sami radio discovered that the POT had thorough information about what he had done professionally from 1977 to 1992, reports from private home visits and general information on his views as a Sami.

In 1977, the art student Synnøve Persen drew a draft of a Sami flag. The POT found that so suspicious that they created a file on her.

I could have mentioned mange examples, but I choose only those who are known from the public room. According to the Sami Parliament the content of some files confirms that there has been an ethnic monitoring of the Sami population. The committee did not have any material that could either confirm or deny this.
So were also other organizations like the peacemovement Sami organizations and representatives were actively monitored for many decades.
So were also other organizations like the peacemovement, and people mand groups to the left of the labour party.

POT probably thought it was important to follow what they ment was an attempt to create a separate Sami state and thus, in their minds, undermining the norwegian national state. This was probably a reaction to the majority of the population's national ideology of conformity and thus casted suspicion on those who were and felt different. As late as just recently it has been alleged that there are "some Sami" working to create a separate Sami State.
When Sami work to promote their own interests, it is easy to dismiss this with claims that what they really want to achieve is a separate nation state.

I mentioned Synnøve Persen, and with her I will draw a line to the issue of free speech. Maria and I sat together in The Freedom of Speech Commission from 1997-1999.

Synnøve Persen is, like Maria, an artist: In 1979, the POT registered that she was a member of a Sami Artist Group in Masi, which was accused of doing "extreme political activities."
The Masi-group was founded on ideas and trends from the Norwegian art environment in general in the 70's. Synnøve Persen and others challenged the boundaries of the freedom of speech. Opposition against the Vietnam War, Nixon and political repression was the theme of artistic production and exhibitions. And that's something I consider to be one of the most important tasks of art: to be the standard-bearer for freedom of expression.

Parts of the surveillance material that ended up in the POT files were about clear violations of freedom of expression, about registrations of expressions they considered dangerous, violations of the freedom to express popular political opinions, the freedom to be concerned and work for Sami character and culture.

For minorities, it is essential to reach out to a broad spectrum of people with information and their vision. It is equally important to develop their own public life in their own language. The Alta affair is a classic example of how information about actual conditions in the past and present led to a process that affected large parts of society and changed a minority’s status and their conditions. Without the media's disclosure this had not happened. The pressure that the media represented came from both the domestic public opinion and from other countries. The desire for fairer treatment of the Sami combined with the threat that the country's reputation would be diminished within a field in which Norway claimed to have an international prestige to protect, was very effective.

When the material conditions for using freedom of speech exist, minorities achieve a great deal. Freedom of expression and the ability to appeal to the public and its common sense is the best protection against abuse. The Alta affair also demonstrates how the international public can work in an area like minority protection.

Section 110 a in the Norwegian Constitution, obliges the government to facilitate in such a way so that the Sami ethnic group can secure and develop their language, their culture and their way of life. It is important to see this passage in the context of the new section 100, where the Commission added a part of the state’s responsibility to facilitate an open and informed dialogue. This is a requirement that the state is to actively contribute so that individuals and groups have an actual opportunity for expression. The government’s task is expanded from passive and refrained intervention to an active facilitation so that citizens’ freedom of expression is possible. The Infrastructure-requirement entails an obligation to facilitate the channels and institutions for an open and informed public debate. In short, an overall government responsibility for the construction of a public space.

The Commission had three main justifications for free speech: increase accuracy, democracy and the individual’s free opinion. We were concerned that the processes had to be strengthened through positive means if it could be established that one or more of the processes did not work as intended. Rather than simply prohibiting verbal attacks on the positions, actions and attitudes, it is more effective to create conditions to ensure that the affected can answer - and reach the same general public - with their version of reality.

Steps have been taken in the right direction when it comes to the minorities’ freedom of speech. One has an infrastructure-commitment, but it needs more material support for both developing the local public and to inform and to communicate with and within the wider public. If there is any area where prejudice must be driven out of the honest quest for the truth in accordance with the central argument for freedom of expression, it is precisely the area of creating a well-functioning multicultural society.

Conditions for freedom of expression are ultimately dependent on political will to protect this freedom. But this dependAnd precisely today’s wedding couple, Maria and Magne Ove, have better backgrounds and abilities than almost anyone else I know to carry this work forward. Congratulations - good luck with a meaningful future.
(A lesson in connection with the wedding of Maria Fuglevaag Warsinski and Magne Ove Varsi in Polmak, county of Finnmark 10.July 2010)


31 kommentarer:

  1. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the
    same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information
    to work on. You have done a outstanding job!
    My site :: web design miami beach

  2. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks
    Also see my site > Credit Repair Reviews

  3. Hello, this weekend is fastidious in favor of me, as this occasion i am reading
    this fantastic educational article here at my residence.
    My homepage :: la nautica

  4. This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!
    Here is my blog post : Infedelity

  5. Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good work.
    My website ; lanautica

  6. Malaysia & Singapore & brunei ultimate online blogshop for
    wholesale & supply korean add-ons, earrings, earstuds, choker, rings,
    bracelet, hair & bracelet accessories. Offer 35 % wholesale rebate. Ship Worldwide
    Also visit my web site ... stitching wire indonesia

  7. Malaysia & Singapore & brunei best on the internet blogshop for wholesale & quantity korean add-ons,
    earrings, earstuds, locket, rings, hair, trinket & bangle add-ons.
    Promotion 35 % wholesale price cut. Ship Worldwide
    Here is my web blog curso de unas de gel

  8. I savor, cause I discovered exactly what I was looking for.
    You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye
    Also visit my blog - Massage

  9. It's in reality a great and useful piece of information. I'm glad that you shared this helpful info
    with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you
    for sharing.
    Feel free to surf my web site ; neucopia compensation plan

  10. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed
    reading it, you happen to be a great author.
    I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back
    in the future. I want to encourage one to continue your great work,
    have a nice evening!
    Also see my website > transfer rumours 2010 liverpool

  11. Its such as you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot
    about this, such as you wrote the guide in it or something.
    I believe that you just could do with some % to force the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.
    Feel free to surf my web page - keynote speakers south africa

  12. Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything. But imagine if you added some great pictures
    or video clips to give your posts more, "pop"!
    Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this blog
    could definitely be one of the very best in its
    niche. Awesome blog!

    my web-site; internal hemorrhoids treatment

  13. Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!

    Also visit my site: jobs in uk
    Also see my web page - job search

  14. For newest news you have to pay a quick visit world wide web and
    on internet I found this web page as a finest website for
    most recent updates.

    my homepage :: manfrotto

  15. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague
    who has been conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me dinner simply because I stumbled
    upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this..
    .. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your blog.

    Have a look at my web page :: MensHealth

  16. Really no matter if someone doesn't be aware of then its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.

    Also visit my blog: Kosher Desserts

  17. I'll right away grasp your rss feed as I can not find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you've
    any? Kindly allow me recognise in order that I may just
    subscribe. Thanks.

    my blog; juegos para pc

  18. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo
    News? I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

    My page :: juegosparapc10

  19. excellent issues altogether, you simply gained a new reader.

    What may you suggest in regards to your post that you made a few days ago?
    Any certain?

    My blog post ... fenetre en pvc

  20. I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that's both equally educative and interesting, and
    without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I'm very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

    My weblog ... devis fenetre pvc en ligne

  21. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

    My homepage; xxx teens

  22. What's up, just wanted to mention, I liked this blog post. It was practical. Keep on posting!

    Stop by my web page;

  23. My brother recommended I might like this web
    site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day.
    You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this
    info! Thanks!

    Feel free to visit my web-site; fenetre pvc devis

  24. I visited many websites but the audio quality for audio songs present at this web site is in fact superb.

    Here is my website - devis fenetre pvc en ligne

  25. Hello! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the
    same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial
    information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

    my web site ...

  26. Excellent post. I am experiencing many of these issues as well.

    Feel free to surf to my web site ... sex on webcam

  27. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post's to be exactly what I'm looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself?

    I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome site!

    Check out my site; tarif fenetre pvc

  28. Excellent article. I am facing many of these issues as well.

    My site :: volet roulant sur mesure

  29. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you actually recognise what you are
    speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also
    discuss with my website =). We may have a hyperlink trade arrangement among us

    My weblog ... phenixoption

  30. Do you have a spam issue on this blog; I also am a blogger,
    and I was curious about your situation; many of us have created
    some nice procedures and we are looking to trade methods with other folks, be sure to shoot me an
    email if interested.

    Also visit my web-site ::

  31. I used to be able to find good advice from your content.

    Also visit my web page; pose de lame de terrasse