Although NRK Sápmi is the smallest of NRK’s six divisions, it is the largest Sami media entity in existence. NRK Sápmi has had its headquarters in Karasjok (Norway) since 1984.
One of four Sami broadcasters
The Sami are the only indigenous people in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The Sami are also one of the indigenous populations on the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The traditional Sami settlement area (Sápmi) includes this entire area (see the highlighted map below).
Norway, Sweden and Finland all have their own Sami broadcasters (NRK Sápmi, SR Sameradion, SVT Sápmi og YLE Sápmi, respectively), while the privately owned Sami radio on the Kola Peninsula in Russia has been closed down. Together the four media units in Norway, Sweden and Finland cover the entire Sami area (Sápmi) and produce several of their broadcasts together. NRK Sápmi is the largest of these four, with 110 employees (2013). NRK Sápmi broadcasts 246 hours of TV, 1754 of FM-radio, and 6545 hours on digital radio (DAB)/inline radio per year (2012). In addition, there is text and photo production for the Internet.
Main mission: To create media products for the Sami
NRK Sápmi’s main mission is to provide programming for the Sami people, but the division is also expected to contribute to and enhance the knowledge and information about Sami society for the rest of the population.
NRK’s annual report (2012) states the following: "NRK Sápmi produces Sami content on NRK’s various media platforms. The Sami division, with its headquarters in Karasjok, has as its primary assignment to offer content for the Sami population. In addition, through documentary series and individual programs NRK makes the Sami culture more visible as an integral part of the Norwegian diversity.”
“NRK Sámi Radio should be a mini-broadcasting network for the Sami (former Director of Programs at NRK, Reidar Hirsti, about NRK Sápmi in NRK’s structural plan in 1983).”
Goal of NRK Sápmi
NRK Sápmi states the following regarding its goal: "NRK Sápmi will through its programming contribute to all Sami can and will want to remain Sami, and that the country’s general population acquire a greater knowledge of Sami and the Sami culture and society.”
In the strategic plan of NRK Sápmi it is furthermore stated: NRK Sápmi should be a leading producer and publisher of Sami language content, tell the Sami stories, be the glue in the Sami society, and be a Sami arena for news, culture, entertainment and content for children and youth.
Collaboration of indigenous populations
Since 2003, NRK Sápmi has worked actively to develop a partnership between indigenous broadcasters in order to increase the extent of indigenous people’s news and programs, borh in their own broadcasts and in NRK’s other programming.
In 2008, a global network of indigenous broadcasters was established. The name of the network is World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (WITBN) and the network has at this time 14 members, including NRK Sápmi (2013).
From 2012 to 2014, the Director of NRK Sápmi, Nils Johan Heatta, functions as the head of the network. The network’s secretariat has also moved from Taipei in Taiwan to NRK Sápmi’s headquarters in Karasjok (Norway) during this period. The network is charged with promoting collaboration in program creation, development, and exchange. In 2012, a technical solution enabled daily exchanges of programs between the 14 members of WITBN.
Programming and other content
The official languages at NRK are Norwegian and Sami. The majority of NRK Sápmi’s radio and TV broadcasts use Northern Sami, but there are regularly scheduled broadcasts in Lule Sami and Southern Sami as well. NRK Sápmi’s continuous online news coverage is in both Norwegian and the Sami dialects (which, in part, are so different that they can be considered separate languages).
NRK Sápmi strives toward the goal that, in principle, all Sami speakers should get the most important news presented in Sami. The NRK Sápmi news service presents the main news stories. The editorial news policy places specific events in a larger context and analyzes the impact of various political decisions on people’s daily lives.
Furthermore, NRK Sápmi’s news coverage, while grounded in Sami daily life and reality, also shows that we are an integral part of the Nordic and global news picture. In that regard, NRK Sápmi puts a special emphasis on presenting the news from and about other indigenous populations in the world. Daily, NRK Sápmi transmits news on the radio and online. On television and on their teletext pages, news is published on every weekday.
NRK Sápmi’s content offerings intend to inform, develop, challenge and entertain the public. The content offerings should capture the attention of as many listeners, viewers and users as possible all over the country. The programming on the radio should be varied and reflect Sami society. It is important that the programs reaches both smaller and larger target groups. Besides the news and current event programming, NRK Sápmi also creates cultural, public service, and entertainment programs, documentaries, debates, and children’s and youth programs, all of which are released on radio, TV and online.
The program line-up on television includes four weekly children’s programs and 10-15 documentaries and cultural programs per year. As with news coverage, it is important that NRK Sápmi’s programming conveys and develops the Sami sense of identity and unity with other indigenous populations around the world.