Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”.
From the Philippines, Maria Ressa, Chief Executive and cofounder of online news outlet Rappler, and Russia’s Dmitry Muratov, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta newspaper, were named as the 2021 laureates by Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee.
“No society can be free and fair without journalists who are able to investigate wrongdoing, bring information to citizens, hold leaders accountable and speak truth to power”, the UN chief said in his message congratulating this year’s winners.
Our greatest ally
Yet anti-media rhetoric and attacks against media workers continue to rise, observed the top UN official.
“We are seeing growing violence and harassment against journalists, in person and online”, he said. “Women journalists are often subjected to particular abuse”.
At the same time, technology has transformed the ways in which information is received and shared – and regularly used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.
Pointing out that “falsehoods trump facts” too often in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Guterres stressed that “this cannot become the new normal”.
“Free and independent journalism is our greatest ally in combating misinformation and disinformation”, underscored the UN chief.
“As we congratulate the award winners, let us reaffirm the right to press freedom, recognize the fundamental role of journalists and reinforce efforts at every level to support a free, independent and diverse media”.
After publishing stories critical of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and his drugs war, the 58-year-old faced multiple criminal charges and investigations.
According to the UN cultural organization, UNESCO, Ms. Ressa has been arrested for “alleged crimes related to the exercise of her profession” and subject to a sustained campaign of gendered online abuse, threats and harassment, which at one point, resulted in her receiving an average of over 90 hateful messages an hour on Facebook.
The former lead investigative journalist for Asia at CNN and head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, Ms. Ressa was also among a group of journalists named in 2018 as Time Magazine’s person of the year.
Honouring fallen colleagues
Dmitry Muratov’s newspaper is one of the few remaining in Russia to be highly critical of the ruling elite, particularly President Vladimir Putin.
It has reportedly been subjected to threats and harassment, including over its coverage of human rights abuses in Chechnya.
The award came a day after the 15th anniversary of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, one of six murdered Novaya Gazeta reporters.
According to media reports, the 59-year-old laureate upheld: “We will continue to represent Russian journalism, which is now being suppressed”.
He was later quoted as dedicating the award to “those who died defending the right of people to freedom of speech” and went on to name Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Stepanovna Politkovskaya, Nastya Baburova, Natasha Estemirov and Stas Markelov – each of them murdered going about their work – saying: “This is for them”.
Picking a winner
The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and more than $1.4 million in prize money, from a bequest left by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
This year’s nominees included environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Belarusian human rights activist and Belarusian politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and jailed Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny.
The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO
The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.
The emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.
Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.
According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.
Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.
The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.
Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’
The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.
Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.
The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.
Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.
However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.
As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.
Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”
In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.
Now the world is focused on two options:
– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;
– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.
Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.
War games will take place off Durban between South Africa, China and Russia
South Africa’s government has finally shown its colours by inviting Russia and China for war games next month, London’s ‘Daily Mail’ writes with indignation and indignation.
SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has ditched his supposed ‘neutrality’ to the war by hosting the naval drills off the country’s east coast near Durban and Richards Bay from February 17 to 27. The move is the strongest indication yet of the strengthening relationship between South Africa, and the anti-West authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.
The drills will take place around the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring more focus on the refusal of South Africa – a leading voice on its continent – to side with the West and condemn Russia’s actions. The South African government said last year it had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and called for dialogue and diplomacy.
But the upcoming naval drills have led the country’s main opposition party to accuse the government of effectively siding with Russia.
But the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which incorporates all of its armed forces, said next month’s naval exercise would ‘strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China’. The aim of the drills was ‘sharing operational skills and knowledge’, the SANDF said.
The three countries also conducted a similar naval exercise in 2019 in Cape Town, while Russia and China held joint naval drills in the East China Sea last month.
The United States and European Union had hoped South Africa would support the international condemnation of Russia and act as a leader for other nations in Africa. But, South Africa appealed to be one of several African countries to ‘abstain’ in a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia’s special military operation.
South Africa and Russia share a long history, after the Soviet Union gave support to the ANC in its fight to bring down apartheid, the regime of repression against the country’s black majority, writes London newspaper. (And we should remember, how the British destroyed the Boers’ Transvaal and the Orange Republic of the at the beginning of the 20th century, and planted the apartheid regime here).
Apartheid ended in 1994 when the ANC won the first democratic elections in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president.
South Africa is also a member of BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China.
South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations. Currently, there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual, they say in Pretoria.
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