On behalf of the Russian weekly Novaya Gazeta, Dimitri Muratov,editor, will receive the Freedom of Speech and Expression Medal. Novaya Gazeta began publication in 1993 and was financed partly with funds from Nobel Prize Winner and Four Freedoms Award Laureate (1990) Mikhael Gorbachov to promote free media in Russia.
The journalists of Novaya Gazeta are not intimidated by vehement opposition, legal trials, or death threats, but write with integrity after careful research about corruption, domestic issues, activities of the security services, violations of human rights, and international news affecting Russia. Novaya Gazeta is an indispensable source of information for democrats, intellectuals, opinion leaders and other, more powerful groups, about what happens in Russia. Five reporters and editors of the Gazeta have paid the highest price and been killed for defending the ideals of free speech: Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Anna Politskovkaya, Yuri Sjekochikin and Igor Domnikov.
The leaders ofRussia, although frequently targets of the newspaper’s criticism, pay close attention to its stories and occasionally meet to discuss problems with the Novaya Gazeta’s editors and publisher.
Alexander Lebedev, one of the owners of Novaya Gazeta, is the proprietor of the London daily the Evening Standard since early 2009. In a recent article in the British weekly the Observer Dimitri Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, characterized the fifty-year old Lebedev as “an enlightened, hands-off owner who allows [the journalists] to get on with their job. If he doesn't like the editorial line, he writes an owner's column.” Lebedev owns 39% of the stock in the weekly, former president Gorbachov 10%, and the remaining stock is owned by the employees.
The Roosevelt Institute honors in the award to Novaya Gazeta all who put their lives in danger to defend the freedom of the press, which is so often taken for granted.