Journalist from Russia Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Amer Asia ReportJournalistDmitry Muratov of Russia won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his fight for freedom of expression in countries where media outlets have faced persistent attacks and reporters have been murdered. In making the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stressed that an independent press is vital in promoting peace. “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee, explaining why the prize was awarded to two journalists. “Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time,” she said. Muratov was one of the founders in 1993 of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which the Nobel committee described as “the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.” “The newspaper’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” it added. Muratov said he would use his win to help independent journalists who have faced a growing pressure from the authorities, including those who were officially declared “foreign agents” — a designation that carries pejorative connotations and implies additional government scrutiny. “We will use it to shore up Russian journalism that has faced repressions,” he said in comments carried by a Russian messaging app channel. “We will try to help the people who have been designated as agents, have faced persecution and have been forced out of the country.” According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 media workers were killed in the Philippines in the last decade and 23 in Russia. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev used some of his prize money from winning the Nobel in 1990 to help what would become Novaya Gazeta buy office equipment and computers. The Nobel committee noted that since the launch of the newspaper, six of its journalists have been killed, among them Anna Politkovskaya, who covered Russia’s bloody conflict in Chechnya. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praised Muratov as a “talented and brave” person. “We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov — he has consistently worked in accordance with his ideals,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. Some critics questioned if the award respected Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel’s will and its original purpose to prevent war. Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, was among those who said it was justified. “Freedom of expression is a part of democracy, and democratic systems are proven to be more stable, less likely to go to war with each other, less likely to experience civil war,” Smith told The Associated Press. “I think the important thing about a media that’s truly free is that it not only acts independently, but it respects the truth. And that seems to me to be also an important part not just of democracy, but also of the work towards peace.” Reiss-Andersen noted that the peace prize has gone to journalists before, including Ernesto Teodoro Moneta of Italy, cited in 1907 “for his work in the press and in peace meetings.” In 1935, German journalist Carl von Ossietzky was awarded the prize “for his burning love for freedom of thought and expression” after revealing that the Nazi regime was secretly re-arming in breach of the World War I peace accord.

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