In a bold and daring move, Channel 4 has commissioned a 90-minute documentary titled “The Price of Truth” to shed light on the remarkable story of Dmitry Muratov, a fearless advocate for freedom of speech in Russia. Directed by Patrick Forbes, a double Bafta winner, the film delves into the life of Muratov, who has risked everything, including his own life, in his unwavering commitment to preserving the open press amidst the oppressive regime of Vladimir Putin.
Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s sole independent newspaper, has faced immense hardships in his pursuit of truth. Since the establishment of the newspaper, six of his journalists have been brutally murdered, including the renowned war reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was tragically gunned down in her Moscow apartment building’s lift.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Muratov took extraordinary measures to protect his journalists and denounce the war. In defiance of those who advised against his return to Moscow, he insisted on safeguarding his paper and its staff. Muratov courageously voiced his perspective, asserting, “Putin thinks that dying is good if it means dying for the Homeland. I think that living for the Motherland is the most important thing for Russia. We have a conflict between life and death.”
Ironically, while attending a documentary festival in Riga, Latvia, Muratov announced his intention to auction his Nobel Peace Prize medal, awarded to him in December 2021. Working alongside UNICEF, he pledged to donate the proceeds to support Russian, African, and crucially, Ukrainian refugees. However, upon his return home on a train to visit his mother, tragedy struck. A masked assailant burst into his compartment and doused him with red paint laced with acetone, causing permanent damage to his eyesight.
Undeterred by this heinous attack, Muratov proceeded with the auction. In an astonishing turn of events, on June 21, the medal was sold for a staggering $103 million, setting a new record. Despite the immense pressure he and his team face, Muratov remains resolute and refuses to leave Moscow.
Director Patrick Forbes expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to create this powerful documentary, saying, “It’s been an incredible privilege to make this film, to witness the courage of my friend as he confronts a tyrannical president and an unjust war, while defending values that we in the West often take for granted.”
Reflecting on his mission, Dmitry Muratov remarked, “Putin lives in the clouds. He’s thinking about how to change the past. He thinks that death is good if it means dying for the Motherland, and I think that living for the Motherland is the most important thing for Russia. We have a conflict between life and death. I’m not an observer, I’m a participant.”
Sacha Mirzoeff, the documentary commissioner at Channel 4, expressed immense pride in the film, emphasizing its role in highlighting the struggles of independent journalists operating within Russia during times of conflict. Muratov, the Nobel laureate, has become an emblematic figure for independent journalists worldwide in an era of increasingly controlled media. Mirzoeff stated that having Muratov present at Docfest for the international premiere of the film was a perfect match, solidifying his position as a symbol of resilience and dedication to journalistic freedom.
“The Price of Truth” promises to captivate audiences with its portrayal of Dmitry Muratov’s extraordinary journey, showcasing bravery, defiance, and an unwavering commitment to defending the idea of an open press, no matter the cost.