“The Nobel Prize is not a shield”: Putin puts pressure on journalist Dmitry Muratov

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on October 8 to Dmitri Muratov, who heads the teams of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. This newspaper is one of the last independent strongholds in a largely controlled Russian media landscape.

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LRussian President Vladimir Putin warned on Wednesday that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dmitry Muratov, editor of a critical newspaper, was not a “shield” protecting him from the status of “foreign agent” .

Mr. Muratov, who heads the teams of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, received the Nobel Peace Prize last week with the Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, in a context of increased repression against independent media in Russia.

Among the instruments of this repression is the infamous foreign agent status attributed to many journalists and media critical of the Kremlin, a designation which greatly complicates their activity.

The Nobel Prize “is not a shield”

If Mr Muratov “does not violate Russian law, if he does not give any reason for being declared a foreign agent, then that will not happen,” Putin said on Wednesday in a statement. energy forum in Moscow.

The Russian head of state called on Mouratov not to “use the Nobel Prize as a shield” to break Russian laws and “draw attention to yourself”. “Whatever his merit, everyone must understand this: it is necessary to submit to Russian laws,” he insisted.

Power pressures on the Russian media

NGOs regularly denounce pressure on the media in Russia, a country which occupies 150th place out of 180 in the latest press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The newspaper is best known for its investigations into corruption and human rights abuses in Chechnya.

This commitment by Novaïa Gazeta has cost the lives of six of its collaborators since the 1990s, including the famous journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was assassinated in 2006.

After being distinguished, Mr. Muratov wondered about the consequences of this Nobel Prize on “censorship” in his country. A few hours later, the authorities added nine people and entities to the list of “foreign agents”.

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