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Reason in a world of lies

THE PEACE AWARD / The Nobel Peace Prize is important enough that even the Kremlin felt compelled to praise the Nobel Peace Prize to Dmitri Muratov.


It is not often in our difficult times that a news headline warms the heart. The news that felt this way is that two brave journalists were awarded the Nobel Prize Peace PrizeMaria Ressa, head of the Philippine website, and Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Russia's latest independent daily newspaper, Novaya Gazeta.

We have reviewed the documentary We Hold the Line (Modern Times Review / MODERN TIMES, April 2020). Director Marc Weise's film closely followed Maria Resa's truth-seeking fearless journalism for a year, in which she was tried to be prevented from doing so by President Rodrigo Duterte's murderous regime.

Ressa and her colleagues have been met with death threats and lawsuits. She is currently on bail pending the outcome of an appeal against a sentence of six years' imprisonment in a cyber libel lawsuit. She has now reacted enthusiastically to the attention the Nobel Prize is giving Rappler. about his work. On social media, she states: "This is a recognition of how difficult it is to be a journalist today, and how difficult it is to continue to do what we do… but also hopefully a recognition of how to win the battle for the truth. The battle for facts. We stand. "


Dmitry Muratov has also been subjected to ongoing harassment by the Russian state, dissatisfied with his fact-based professional journalism. When the award was presented, he repeated: "We will continue to represent Russian journalism – which is being repressed today."

Novaya Gazeta's fearless reporting has not been without personal costs for staff: Three years ago, Yuri Shcherkochikhin died from Novaya Gazeta under suspicious circumstances after 16 days with a mysterious illness. He was at a clinic known for being treated and closely monitored by officers from the Russian Federal Security Service. Relatives were denied an independent postmortem, but tissue samples they were able to obtain and test did not support the discovery of a so-called allergic reaction. Shcherkochikhin had investigated allegations that the bombing of apartment blocks in Moscow in 1999 – Putin's argument for Chechnya- the war – had been organized by the secret services.

And 15 years ago this week, October 3, 2006, Anna became Politkovskaya – also from Novaya Gazeta – shot in the elevator outside her apartment in Moscow. Her many years of journalism exposing human rights abuses in Chechnya gave her many enemies. Several Chechens were identified as involved in her murder: a suspect was tipped off and fled Russia; others were acquitted during the trial, which was heavily criticized by independent observers. The fact that Politkovskaya had been under surveillance by the Russian security services for more than two months before she was killed only increased the suspicion that the killing was politically motivated.

Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize is important enough that even the Kremlin felt compelled to praise the award, in which President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov congratulated Muratov as a "talented and brave" man.

The award also draws attention to the international campaign for press freedom from the organization Reporters Without Borders – which launched earlier this year the solidarity campaign HoldTheLine in support of Ressa.

The Nobel Prize Committee stated that the award recognized that "free, independent and fact-based journalism provides for the protest against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda." The two journalists' "brave struggle for freedom of expression" is "a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace".


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Nick Holdsworth
Nick Holdsworth
Holdsworth is a writer, journalist and filmmaker.

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