STOCKHOLM, January 13 (IPS) – In some countries around the globe, telling the truth according to those in power and other influential people, generally wealthy, is a serious punishable crime. punished by stigmatizing truth-tellers, slandering and humiliating them, and threatening their family and friends. If it does not silence them and repent, they may be tortured, imprisoned, and even killed.
In 2000, Igor Domnikov, who in Novaya Gazeta wrote witty essays about business corruption, which had his skull crushed by a hammer blow at the door of his apartment. In 2001, Victor Popkov died after being wounded in a gunfight while in By Novaya Gazeta reporting on the Chechnyan war on behalf. In 2006, Anna Politkovskaya, human rights activist and Novaya Gazeta The reporter, who was in the elevator of her apartment block, was shot twice in the void, in the chest and head. In 2009, a human rights lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was shot dead while leaving a press conference in Moscow, less than 800 meters from the Kremlin, while Anastasia Baburova, a journalist from Novaya Gazeta who tried to come to his aid was also shot dead. The same year, Novaya Gazeta reporter Natalia Estemitrova was seen screaming while she was strapped to a car just outside her house in the Chechen capital Grozny. Two hours later, she was found dead from one bullet to the head and one to the chest.
Shchekochikin, a member of Parliament, was in Novaya Gazeta write articles on criminal activities and corruption among officers of the FSB RF, Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, the main successor to the KGB. Shchekochikin died suddenly on July 3, 2003 of a mysterious illness, days before his scheduled departure for the United States, where he would meet with FBI agents investigating America’s connections to foreign agents. Russian oligarch and FSB agent. Shchekochikin’s medical records were lost, although the doctors who treated him explained that their patient’s symptoms suggested poisoning from “radioactive material”.
This is not the first time the KGB/FSB has used radioactive substances to poison defectors and detractors. The first recorded incident was in 1957 when Nikolai Khoklov was poisoned by radioactive material Thallium-201, suffering from the same symptoms as Roman Tsepov, a corrupt businessman in 2004, after drinking a cup of tea at the local FSB office, his white blood cell count suddenly dropped and died after two weeks. In 2006, Alexander Litvinenkov, a fugitive and former FSB agent died in London after being poisoned with polonium-210. In 2018, another defector and former military intelligence officer, Sergei Skripal, was in Salisbury with his daughter being poisoned by a Novichok Nerve Agent and in 2020, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny was also poisoned with a similar substance.
When By Novaya Gazeta The editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, of Oslo, was awarded Nobel Peace Prize 2021 he lamented Russia’s restrictions on free speech, adding that he was not a legitimate recipient of the prestigious award. More deserving men and women have lost their lives defending the truth: “It’s just that the Nobel Peace Prize is not awarded after a will, it is awarded to living people.” Accordingly, in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Muratov said:
“…this award is for all true journalists. This award goes to my colleagues from Novaya Gazeta, who lost their lives – Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekotschikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Anastasija Baburova, Stas Markelov and Natasha Estemirova. This award is also open to living colleagues, to the professional community, who carry out their professional duties. ”
Philippine journalist Maria Angelita Ressa shared Nobel Peace Prize with Dmitry Muratov. The award was awarded for “their efforts in defending the right to free speech, which is a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace”.
In her speech, Maria Ressa mentioned that “in the Philippines, more lawyers have been killed – at least 63 compared to 22 journalists who were murdered after President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.” Just a day before she gave her Nobel Prize speech, Maria Ressa’s colleague, Jesus “Jess” Malabanan, was killed on a street in Manila.
Rodrigo Duterte is still loved by the majority of Filipinos. After his election victory in 2016, something called DuterteNomics were introduced, including tax reform, infrastructure development, social protection programs, transition to the federal government system, and strengthening relations with China and Russia. The infrastructure initiative is promoted through the tagline: “Build! Build! Build!” In 2021, 214 airport projects, 451 tourist and social-commercial port projects, 29,264 km of roads, 5,950 bridges, 11,340 flood control projects, 11,340 evacuation centers and 150,149 classrooms under the infrastructure program.
Despite this progress, Duterte from some areas has been heavily criticized for his apparent authoritarianism, self-glorification, and rampant populism, manifested in callous and vulgar language, such as his trivializing the rape and murderous activities of vigilante groups. Mr. Duterte has repeatedly confirmed that he personally killed suspected criminals during his term as mayor of Davao and he is the only Philippine president to refuse to declare his assets and liabilities. Furthermore, he has human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, is directly linked to the extrajudicial killings of more than 1,400 alleged criminals and street children, while The International Criminal Court in The Hague is currently investigating his administration’s drug crackdown, which is believed to have resulted in 30,000 deaths, while authorities put the number at around 8,000.
Duterte’s image as a strong-willed, controversial yet highly effective leader has been actively supported by a docile propaganda machine that, among other means, is said to be supported. by an online “army of trolls” pro-Duterte that are pushing out fake news stories and manipulating the narrative surrounding his presidency. Both Markelov and Ressa lament such abuse of the site, who stressed that one of the main tasks of journalism is to distinguish between fact and fiction, which means that a reporter must be patient and unbiased. Investigating as many angles as possible of a general problem. . Markelov quotes famous war photographer Robert Capa: “If your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
Both Markelov and Ressa state that the immense power of a continuously and increasingly advanced communication technology is both beneficial and harmful to maintaining the truth. It connects people from all over the world, allows sharing of ideas and spreading awareness about human rights abuses. However, the site also spreads a virus of lies that incites us against one another, inflames fear, anger, and hatred, and sets the stage for the rise of dictators and dictatorship around the world. Journalists must confront that kind of hatred and violence, which Ressa defines as:
“The toxic slur is running rampant in our information ecosystem, favored by American internet companies making more money by sowing that hate and bringing out the worst in us. . What happens on social media is not on social media. Online violence is real-world violence. Social networking is a deadly game for power and money. Our personal experiences are sucked into a database, organized by Artificial Intelligence, and then sold to the highest bidder. Highly profitable micro-targeted operations designed to structurally weaken human will – a behavior modification system we are Pavlov’s dogs, time tested real time with disastrous consequences in countries like mine,”
Markelov claims that much of the information is baseless and manipulated to spread its poison through the website has clouded our consciences and, even worse, led people to believe that:
“… Politicians who avoid bloodshed are weak. While threatening the world with violence and war is the duty of true patriots. Aggressive marketing about war affects people and they begin to think that war is acceptable.”
In such a tainted environment, journalists who tell the truth are suffering. In countries where they can, they are living under a real threat of slander and torture, spending the rest of their lives in prison or being brutally murdered. They don’t know what the future holds. However, the heroes of the word freedom argue that their sacrifice is worth the risks they are taking. They believe in their mission to bring truth to people and therefore advocate empathy, peace, and critical thinking. In Markelov’s words:
“Yes, we growled and bitten. Yes, we have sharp teeth and strong grips. But we are a prerequisite for progress. We are the antidote against tyranny. I want journalists to die of old age.”
© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service