Maria Ressa And Dmitry Muratov On Do-Or-Die Battle For Media Freedom
THE WEEK|October 31, 2021
Nobel laureates Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov are emblematic of the dire challenges faced by the media globally
Philip Mathew

Anya’s paper. That is the Novaya Gazeta’s street name. Brands would kill to develop that kind of personal bonding with consumers or readers. And someone did kill investigative journalist Anna ‘Anya’ Politkovskaya. Shot her down in her Moscow apartment exactly 15 years ago—in October 2006. She was never the editor of the Gazeta, but readers recognised that she had died for them, for their right to know the truth. And with the Gazeta’s editor, Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov, being named co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace 2021, this recognition has gone global. Anya did not die for Russians alone. She died for us.

Having been closely associated with the International Press Institute (IPI) for several decades, THE WEEK has a much closer bond with Muratov’s co-recipient: Maria Ressa, editor of the Philippine news website, Rappler. She is a member of the IPI executive board and was the recipient of the IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer Award 2018. The ipi.media website has a long-running campaign page to support Ressa. She has been hounded so hard by the Philippines government that her counsel, Amal Clooney, said that Rappler had become a cautionary tale for journalists there. “Be silent, or you’re next.” She is facing at least “eight active criminal and administrative cases, which include tax cases, alleged violations of foreign ownership rules, and libel cases….”

Muratov, too, has an IPI link. He was the recipient of the IPI Free Media Pioneer Award 2009. I remember listening to him during the IPI’s World Congress and 58th General Assembly in Helsinki, Finland, in June 2009. While accepting the award, Muratov had asked for a moment of silence as “a tribute to Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov.” He promised to exhibit the award in front of their photographs in the Gazeta’s newsroom.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE WEEKView All

Sam's Untold Stories

Apart from being the brilliant soldier who led India to its most famous military victory in the Bangladesh war in 1971, Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was also a loving husband, an indulgent father, a doting grandfather, a gracious host and a caring friend

10+ mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

The team exceeded my expectations

Ravi Shastri, former head coach, Indian men's cricket team

9 mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

Wistful about the ‘80s and ‘90s

Still have goosebumps from watching the trailer of Kabir Khan’s ’83. I have seen it four times already, and every time I watch, I am 12 again, experiencing that miraculous final unfold with my entire family in the living room of my grandfather’s old house, all of us huddled around our pot-bellied Weston TV with our hearts in our mouths.

3 mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

Magdalena's many problems

History was made. This country got its first woman prime minister. That is ho-hum news everywhere, except if it had happened in the US, Russia or China. Sri Lanka elected the world’s first woman PM in 1960, then came Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto, Khaleda Zia, Sheikh Hasina….

2 mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

MARVELLOUS MS MACARON

Pooja Dhingra, who first popularised the dainty French confection in India, is out with a new book

4 mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

Mamata and Kejriwal are political tourists

PRAMOD SAWANT, 48, is one of the youngest chief ministers in the country. He was handpicked for the post in March 2019 after the demise of then chief minister Manohar Parrikar, and has had less than three years to make a mark.

4 mins read
THE WEEK
December 12, 2021

Helping The Healer

The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, more so on health care workers. There have been increasing cases of burnout and mental health issues among the medical staff. What does it mean to take care of oneself even as one is in charge of the well-being of others?

8 mins read
THE WEEK
November 28, 2021

POLITICS TO PAGE TURNER

Smriti Irani kept you hooked on to the TV screen, as an actor, and later in Parliament, as an orator. Now she has you booked, with her debut novel, a thriller

8 mins read
THE WEEK
December 05, 2021

Lost lament

Chandrababu Naidu’s allegations of personal attacks by the YSRCP are unlikely to translate into political gains

4 mins read
THE WEEK
December 05, 2021

Future shock

Greenwashing solar and wind energy today could lead to heavy payback tomorrow

4 mins read
THE WEEK
December 05, 2021