In January this year, a new multi-lingual Sami magazine published its first issue. Its goal is to grow – and to publish articles in nine languages.
Magazine Manager Jan Skoglund Paltto of Sámi Magasiidna argues that other Sami media stopped writing about Sami rights after the Alta Case in the 1970s and early 1980s, and says he has always dreamed of a joint Sami magazine that focuses on ‘the important stuff’ rather than just ‘a car crash here and a reindeer accident there’, according to the Journalisten newspaper.
The magazine has published in three languages; Norwegian, North Sami and South Sami, since its first edition was launched in January 2017. The goal is to grow the magazine enough to deserve a place on the list of medias that receive special state support for Sami newspaper, the regulations of which have been in place since 1997. So far, the new magazine appears to be on the right track, the manager says to Journalisten.
Such state support would mean an opportunity to hire more journalists and also extend the number of publishing languages beyond the three current ones. However, the market for some of the ‘new’ languages is rater minuscule. Only 800 Sami on the Kola Peninsula in Russia speak Kildin Sami, and only 300 people in northern Finland are able to use Enare Sami.
Very little news is published in Sami languages today. Paltto say the new magazine does not want to compete with Norwegian-language media, but rather provide existing Sami speakers with news in their own language and through that promote and stimulate further use of Sami languages in order to promote their status.