Nobel Peace Prize winner, editor-in-chief of Russian newspaper visits BYU to discuss freedom of speech

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On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, people flocked to hear Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov. 

“You will need courage to not get tired of thinking of other people’s suffering,” Muratov said to the audience. 

Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his work to protect freedom of expression in Russia. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta. Muratov and his journalists have spoken out against government corruption, military operations and human rights violations in Russia. 

“If free press is under attack, that means that the government is preparing people for the war,” Muratov said.

He explained that many Russians support the Ukrainian war because of propaganda. 

Muratov said, “Your generation has the chance to understand propaganda and find the antidote to it. My generation did not succeed in doing that.

According to Muratov, a Ukrainian child spent an average of 920 hours under bombs this year. 

For Niles Herrod, this matter hits especially close to home. Herrod served his mission in Russia. His mother is from Ukraine and he still has family there. Last year, he was Facetiming his grandma and heard bombs going off in the background. 

“Those first couple months of not knowing if my grandma was going to live or not, my aunt, my cousins and so forth was really hard and no one should have to go through that and leave their home.”

Herrod and his friends have been fundraising to support a school for Ukrainian refugee children in Poland. 

“Don’t forget about Ukrainians because after a couple months of media reporting it just died down and everyone kind of forgot about it but it’s still going on, there’s people still dying.”

In a world where people are exhausted from the news, Muratov encouraged people to promote freedom of expression. 

“We need to bring back free elections and free media otherwise we will pay for death,” Muratov said. 

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