President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Russian newspaper editor Dmitry Muratov will not “save” him from being a “foreign agent” for breaking the law.
Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s top independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, won the coveted prize last week for his work promoting freedom of expression along with Philippine investigative journalist Maria Russa.
Recognition for Muratov came as dozens of Russian journalists and several major independent outlets were hit with the designation “foreign agent” this year.
A term with Soviet-era ventures, the situation compels individuals or organizations to disclose sources of funding and label all of their publications, including social media posts, with a tag or face fine.
“If he doesn’t violate Russian law, and if he doesn’t give reasons for being declared a foreign agent, he won’t,” Putin said at a forum in Moscow.
But he warned the journalist against trying to hide behind the Nobel Prize and “using it as a shield” to violate Russian law and “draw attention to himself”.
Muratov was among the group of journalists who founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The newspaper has become one of the few remaining independent voices in a tightly controlled media landscape.
Critics of the Kremlin say the authorities are campaigning against independent and critical media, many branded foreign agents and others have been forced to close.
After receiving the award on Friday, Muratov said he was not sure how it would affect “censorship.” On the same day, the Justice Ministry added nine more people to its list of foreign agents.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)