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Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov calls situation in Russia ‘toxic’

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Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov was the guest of honour at a reception held at the Norwegian Embassy in Moscow on Sunday, in honour of his recent Nobel Peace Prize award.

Along with Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, Muratov received the prestigious prize for what the committee called their work “safeguarding freedom of expression” in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment, and even murder.

Muratov spoke of the increasing difficulty of being a journalist under Vladimir Putin’s presidency.

“The situation is extremely difficult. It is toxic. Unfortunately, many journalists have been forced to leave Russia. They fear that they will be tried and imprisoned,” said the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and editor of the critically acclaimed newspaper, Novaya Gazeta.

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The Russian journalist is acutely aware of the role media plays in shaping the political narrative in his homeland. According to him, the word democracy has become an insult in Russian politics.

“Propaganda has convinced the majority of the Russian people that democracy is harmful and that it leads to collapse. That’s why most people have started liking a ruled dictatorship,” he went on.

The walls of Novaya Gazeta are adorned with pictures of six of its journalists who were killed while working for the organisation. Now, a picture of Muratov’s co-recipient of the Peace Prize, Maria Ressa, is proudly displayed on the building’s exterior.

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The newspaper said it was a message of solidarity for all of those who risk their lives in the pursuit of freedom of expression.

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