Oksana Romaniuk, the head of the Institute of Mass Information, rejected the Johann-Philipp-Palm-Award for Freedom of Speech and the Press due to the award also being given to Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov, whom she called “an official Kremlin liberal.”
The former editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow, Venediktov “more than once promoted Kremlin propaganda, publicly called Putin his "only boss," boasted of connections with (Russian Foreign Minister) Lavrov, (Kremlin spokesman) Peskov, and other functionaries,” Romaniuk wrote on Facebook.
The Institute of Mass Information, headed by Romaniuk, is a Ukrainian NGO and journalistic analytical center protecting freedom of speech and supporting the development of Ukrainian journalism.
According to Deutsche Welle, Seyran Ates, a member of the Palm Foundation’s board of trustees, explained the presenting of the award to the Russian journalist by saying that “although Venediktov maintained contact with the Kremlin, his position as a journalist is clear — he is a supporter of freedom.”
Except for Venediktov, the prize was also awarded to the Association of Municipal Radio and Television Stations of the Congo (CORACON). The award ceremony was held in Schorndorf on Dec. 4.
Since the launch of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, opposition-oriented Russian media outlets have come under increasing scrutiny from Ukrainians and other countries with experience of Russian occupation, as in the case of the TV station Dozhd (Rain).
After a Dozhd host said on air that the channel was helping Russian soldiers with "basic necessities", the Latvian broadcasting regulator revoked the channel’s license on Dec. 6 “in connection with the threat to the national security and public order,” Reuters reported, citing Ivars Abolins, the Latvian broadcasting regulator’s chairman. Dozhd moved its broadcasting premises to Latvia following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.