Alongside the Filipina Maria Ressa, it is a monument of Russian journalism that the Nobel Committee has chosen to honor, Friday October 8, by awarding Dmitri Muratov a Nobel Peace Prize as unexpected as it is symbolic.
Through him, it is a newspaper, the Novaïa Gazeta, known for the quality of his work as much as for his martyrs, who is honored. In his first reaction, Mr. Muratov, his tireless editor-in-chief, immediately paid tribute to his journalists, and first and foremost to those killed in the course of their work, the most famous of which, Anna Politkovskaïa, murdered there is fifteen years almost to the day, October 7, 2006.
Mr. Muratov also said he accepted the award “In the name of Russian journalists who are currently undergoing repression”. “We will help those we call “foreign agents”, those who are oppressed and those who are driven into exile “, he promised. These words echo those of the Nobel committee, which made Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov “Representatives of all journalists who defend freedom of expression”.
The Russian power, with which M. Muratov and the Novaïa Gazeta have continued to maintain conflicting relations, could not help but congratulate the winner: Dmitri Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, greeted his « talent » and his « courage ». Things are, however, made simpler for the Kremlin by the fact that the Novaïa Gazeta is practically the last independent Russian media not to have received the label – infamous and threatening – of “agent of the foreigner”.
Reports on ignored Russian realities
Dmitry Muratov, 59, is first and foremost a renowned journalist and editor. A former “para”, he began his career in the last years of the USSR, in a newspaper in his native town, Samara. Passed through the Komsomolskaïa Pravda, he participated in 1993, with about fifty other journalists, in the creation of the Novaïa Gazeta, a tri-weekly magazine that quickly established itself as a benchmark.
In 1995, Muratov became its editor-in-chief. His voice carries both inside and outside the newspaper. In a media landscape where the room for maneuver will continue to shrink, under the combined blows of the State and the oligarchs, the Novaya stands out. Today, 76% of the shares belong to the editorial staff, 14% to businessman Alexander Lebedev, who took a stake in 2006, and 10% to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The newspaper is renowned for its reports on Russian realities ignored by other media, as recently as the situation of mental hospitals, as well as for its investigations. Its history is punctuated by a certain number of resounding investigations: on the attacks of 1999, attributed to Chechen separatists and which allowed the rise of Vladimir Poutine; on the management by the police of hostage-taking in the Moscow theater – during a performance of the musical Northeast – in 2002 and Beslan in 2004; on the corruption of the elites; on the mercenaries of Wagner and their exactions, in Syria in particular; on extrajudicial executions in Chechnya and the hunt for homosexuals there, etc.
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