Dmitry Muratov, the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, spoke about the press as bitter medicine for dictatorships at a session titled "International Journalist Forums."
"The press is not a spa, nor a gym, nor a yoga studio." The press is "bitter medicine for dictatorship," said Muratov about the roles and tasks of journalists and media organizations worldwide for peace at the sixth SIGNIS World Congress in Seoul, South Korea on August 16.
Muratov is the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and a journalist from Russia. He shared the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize with a Filipina named Maria Ressa for "their work to safeguard freedom of expression, which is essential for democracy and sustainable peace."
"Without freedom of the press, there would be no control of societal power. Without freedom of the press, there would be no activity in the public interest. And without a society that controls its own country, a dictatorship will arise, and a dictator will create a world,” he said.
He emphasized that journalists have played a crucial role in making press freedom a reality.
He stated that journalists should not become passive observers who merely witness occurrences. Being a journalist means tending to interfere in life.
Since this intervention plays a significant role in enhancing life, he feels that genuine journalists should take action. "Such an intervention is a journalistic humanitarian mission," Muratov remarked.
He said that the primary role of journalists in a war is to defend humanitarian causes. Journalists should oppose wars. Therefore, journalists must strive to minimize the number of victims to achieve prompt peace. For us journalists, this is an essential professional trait.
"We need journalists to achieve a better life and a better world. I hope that we can work together to achieve this goal. We must change the world for the better,” he said.
The other three speakers at the session were international journalist Jack Barton, who covers breaking news and war zones, Korean independent producer Kim Youngmi, who covers conflict zones; and Cédric Alviani, the head of the East Asia Bureau for Reporters Without Borders (RSF). They shared their experiences as journalists who cover war and conflict zones.
The speakers emphasized that the responsibility of journalists for peace in the digital age is to refute false information through professional journalism that delivers trustworthy information.
Reporting should be conducted by journalists who are answerable and legally liable. In other words, professional journalism must be defended.
SIGNIS is the international association of Catholic communicators. The World Congress 2022 is being held in Seoul, South Korea, from August 16 to 19, on the theme of "Peace in the Digital World.”- Kasmir Nema.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.