Sámi news broadcast creates a stir

NRK changes its language policy by popular demand

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The Sámi flag is the flag of Sápmi and the Sámi (Saami) people, one of the indigenous people groups of the Nordic countries and the Kola Peninsula of the Russian Federation.


When NRK journalist Anders Boine Verstad was preparing a completely usual news item for Sámi National Day on Feb. 6, he asked if he could deliver it in the Sámi language.

The answer was yes, and with that, he started an internal language revolution at NRK. The feedback was so positive that NRK has now changed its language policy. Sámi can now be used a routine reporting language as long as there are Norwegian subtitles.

“It’s something quite different when an everyday news item on ‘Dagsrevyen’ is heard in Sámi, without any ‘fuzz’ or fury—and the topic is something other than reindeers, the northern lights, or Sámi parliament,” said Verstad.

Verstad also delivered a sports story about Martin Ødegaard in Sámi, which is an official language in Norway.

(Translated by Lori Ann Reinhall)

This article originally appeared in the April 9, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway