English translation from the official periodical of RAIPON “Мир коренных народов - живая арктика” (Indigenous Peoples’ World - Living Arctic) No. 17, 2005

40 years on the air

T. Gostyukhina, Director, Programme for Peoples of the North, Regional State Broadcasting Company Yamal-Region

In a historical perspective, the alphabets for the languages of the indigenous peoples living in our okrug appeared very recently. It happened in the second quarter of the last century. But the Nenets language was broadcast for the first time on 5 March 1964 , even later than the appearance of the alphabet.

40 years have passed since then. But how much has it changed our lives! For several years a special Directorate of Programmes for Peoples of the North has functioned within the Okrug Broadcasting Company of the Yamal Region. This small but efficient and service-minded department runs television and radio programmes in five languages: Nenets, Khanty, Selkup, Komi-Zyryan, and Russian.

Every year the equipment of the Directorate is improving. Now there is a car, computers with language-specific alphabets, and contemporary recording facilities. An extensive database and numerous business trips enable us to compile interesting and variable programmes about every ethnic group. Captioning information in different northern languages notably expanded the TV audience.

The main concerns of the journalists of the Directorate are to preserve and develop native languages and to provide the rural and nomadic population with information on regional and national current events. Economic problems, legislation affecting local people, establishing new relationships with the state and local governments - these are issues reflected in many of the programmes.

There is a 20 minute TV broadcast once a week, repeated some hours later. This work is supervised by Zinaida Longortova, an experienced journalist, who has been working in mass media for more than 15 years. In addition to the programme The Northern Colour in Russian on the culture of indigenous peoples, she also writes Tut Sultam, a programme in the Khanty language in which she tells listeners about her native people.

Larisa Taiberi, a university student, has been compiling broadcasts in the Nenets language for three years. Every programme is more interesting and diverse than the preceding one.

The programme Iz’vatas Olem in Komi-Zyryan is appreciated by the audience for interesting stories about this people. It is compiled by the experienced journalist Anatoliy Terent’ev and the young correspondent Anna Rocheva.

In addition to the above-listed languages there are the radio programmes in the Selkup language Me Chelomyn and Kentyl. The programme Voice of Newcomers by Rufina Andreevna is known very well not only within her native region but also in the Purovsk Region, where the Selkups have been settled since ancient times.

There are three journalists working together at different programmes in the Khanty language in the special department: Evgeniy Ozelov, Yuliya Nakova and Elena Sibareva. Their programmes Onas and Murkhi sun are most heard in those regions where this language is still preserved – the Ural foothills and the Shuryshkarsk Region.

    Much work is done by the experienced editors Anna Lamdo and Yuliya Taleeva in the Nenets language on broadcasting folklore texts, preparing programmes about indigenous story tellers, and about contemporary people learning the basics of market relations. Their programmes Yamal Yun and Nedarma are broadcast once a week.

10 years have passed since the editorial board for programmes in the Komi-Zyryan language was organized. A creative approach is typical for programmes by Maria Eltysheva and Valentina Shakhova, who visit even distant places, where only two or three Komi-Zyryan families live.

Today’s controversial issues are frequently dealt with in the programmes, such as how the traditional way of life may be preserved under the extensive development of the oil and gas industry in the region. Nelly Longortova discussed this question during her visit to the Khants living and working in the Sugmuto-Pyakutin Community.

Larisa Taiberi raises in her programmes the problems of rebuilding trading stations and rendering of services, cooperation of reindeer herders and municipal authorities with those who now own these places.

The life in small settlements, problems affecting the indigenous youth, preservation of the natural environment, programmes for children – all these issues are reflected in our broadcasts.

The fact that only one to three persons work in each department does not entail a lack of new topics or a failure to take advantage of new technologies. Round-table discussions, live broadcasts, and talk shows generate new feelings and attract not only those speaking indigenous languages, but the Russian-speaking audience as well.

40 years is really not such a long time. But today journalists meets much greater requirements than in the 1960s. It is essential to understand the fundamentals of economy and legislation, to keep up with recent developments in the life of arctic indigenous peoples, and to master modern information technology. At the same time a journalist should have a perfect command of his or her native language, be acquainted with traditions and customs, and not be daunted by difficulties encountered during visits to remote nomads’ camps and small villages.

The present generation of journalists endeavors to satisfy these requirements to combine a contemporary, creative approach with the broad.