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Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Posthumous Award for Politkovskaya

Last week the International Press Institute gave a postumous award to Russian patriot Anna Politkovskaya, and this week Reporters Without Borders has announced that her paper, Novaya Gazeta, is the winner of the Media Award in its 2006 Fondation de France prize. It states:

The prize goes to Russian bi-weekly Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper for which Anna Politkovskaya was working when she was murdered in Moscow on 7 October 2006. Novaya Gazeta carries out investigations regularly exposing corruption in the Russian administration. Also highly critical of government policy, the newspaper carried numerous reports by Anna Politkovskaya on Chechnya, but also on developments in Russian society. The founders of the “New Newspaper” set themselves the objective of being independent and of extending its circulation throughout Russia.
This is all well and good, but there are two problems.

First, the amount of the award is pathetic, just $2,500. This is a testament to the utter failure of the world's media corporations to get behind this effort, and create others, so as to fund the courage of people like Anna Politkovskaya from which we all benefit. Novaya Gazeta is regularly locked in a desperate struggle to stay afloat financially and deserves much more money.

Second, this award really serves to underline the fact that not nearly enough was done to recognize and protect Anna while she was alive. It's great that the world is recognizing her now that she is gone, but if she had received more support while she was alive she might not have been gunned down. We ought to be struggling not only to memorialize Anna but to identify and protect her successors. That is what she would want us to do.

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