Speaking truth to power: the legacy of Anna Politkovskaya
It's been 15 years to the day since Anna Politkovskaya was murdered for fearlessly and relentlessly telling the truth. Anna was gunned down in the entrance hall of the block of flats where she used to live in Moscow. An investigative journalist with Novaya Gazeta, Anna was a staunch human rights advocate and a strident critic of the Kremlin.
I have read all her books, often struggling to make sense of a reality that is far, far away from mine. "A Dirty War: A Russian Reporter in Chechnya" is a harrowing account of the unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the Russian armed forces in one of the many conflicts forgotten by the Western media. Did you know there have been two wars in Chechnya in the last 30 years, one from 1994 to 1996 and then a second one from 1999 to 2009? Do you know why the war started in the first place? No, me neither. Not until I read Anna's book anyway.
Russia's authoritarian regime and its curtailment of freedom of expression may seem like a distant threat to us. But looking at how the UK media has become a mouthpiece for the Tory government, the chilling truth is that these journalists are de facto enablers and feeders of the fake news propaganda Build Back Better (whatever the eff that means) machine. With six billionaires holding the majority of voting shares in most of the national newspapers and privately-educated white men at their helm, the current UK corporate media scenario is hardly a shining example of independent thinking and unbiased agendas.
So today I choose to remember Anna Politkovskaya, celebrate her dogged determination to speak truth to power, her integrity as a reporter, her courage as a human being.