Dmitry Muratov says Nobel Peace Prize is for Novaya Gazeta newspaper and its killed journalists

Chief editor Dmitry Muratov said the award was for people who "died defending the right of people to freedom of speech."
Chief editor Dmitry Muratov said the award was for people who "died defending the right of people to freedom of speech."PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - Mr Dmitry Muratov, chief editor of Russia's top independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, on Friday (Oct 8) dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize to the paper's six journalists and contributors killed since 2000.

"I can't take credit for this. This is Novaya Gazeta's," Mr Muratov was cited by Russian news agency TASS as saying.

He said the award was for people who "died defending the right of people to freedom of speech".

Since 2000, six of Novaya Gazeta's journalists and contributors have been killed in connection with their work, with investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya being the most prominent among them.

Ms Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin's wars in Chechnya, was shot dead on Oct 7, 2006, in the entrance hall of her apartment block in central Moscow. She was 48 years old.

On Thursday, Mr Muratov presided over ceremonies at the newspaper's editorial offices to honour Ms Politkovskaya.

The 59-year-old, who has served several times as Novaya Gazeta's editor since 1995, said he will give some of his prize money to a foundation dedicated to children with rare illnesses.

The foundation, Krug Dobra - or Circle of Kindness - was founded in January at the behest of Mr Putin.