'Arctic 30' journalist Kieron Bryan returns to Sheffield
Sheffield journalism graduate Kieron Bryan – who made international headlines in 2013 when he was jailed in Russia alongside a group of green activists – has returned to the University for his first public engagement since being released.
A freelance videojournalist, Kieron was commissioned by Greenpeace to film protests against drilling for oil in the Arctic. He was imprisoned with the protestors and a fellow journalist on charges of piracy after Russian authorities seized their ship.
Kieron spoke of his experiences in a packed Dainton Building lecture theatre on 11 February, playing the gripping footage he collected as Russian forces fired shots and boarded the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise.
He said: "At the time there were two things going round my head. The first was: this is insane, they've sent a helicopter and men with guns. The other thing was: this is the coolest thing I've ever filmed."
A fantastic welcome and response from @sheffjournalism students today. Some great qs as well - wouldn't expect anything less though!— Kieron Bryan (@kieronjbryan) February 11, 2014
Charges against the group were downgraded to hooliganism, but Kieron and the protesters spent two months in prison among rats and in freezing conditions.
"Arriving in Murmansk detention centre on the first night was one the scariest and most surreal things I've ever done," said Kieron.
After a vigorous campaign to free the 'Arctic 30', Kieron and his co-detainees were released under an amnesty and returned home at Christmas.
Asked by a student whether he would consider returning to Russia, Kieron said: "I probably could – but my mum would kill me!"
Kieron studied MA Broadcast Journalism at Sheffield in 2007–08, going on to work for the Times and Daily Mirror before going freelance. His visit marked the first in the series of guest lectures to be hosted by the Department of Journalism Studies this semester.