Finnish investigative journalist Jessikka Aro has made a very courageous career reporting on Russia’s propaganda apparatus for years, including the online “troll factories” that Americans learned all about at the close of the 2016 election cycle. Aro has been attacked and slandered with great force by the very machine she has exposed. She has received death threats, been slandered as a drug addict, and had her personal records exposed online. To call Aro courageous is something of an understatement. According to Foreign Policy, Aro was notified by the U.S. State Department in January that she would be receiving the International Women of Courage Award in Washington, D.C., and presented to her by none other than the secretary of state of the United States, Mike Pompeo.
However, it turns out that Jessikka Aro, being a journalist of some integrity, has also voiced criticisms of our current white supremacist corruption monster in chief over the past couple of years. Foreign Policy reports that a few weeks after sending out the invite, the U.S. State Department rescinded the award. A spokesperson for the State Department told the journal that Aro received the notification in error because of “a lack of coordination in communications with candidates and our embassies.”
Of course, Foreign Policy also spoke with a U.S. diplomatic source that tells it the real reason for Aro’s disinvite was social media posts criticizing President Trump, discovered after the State Department had already contacted her. “It created a shitstorm of getting her unceremoniously kicked off the list.” Aro herself said that the fact that such a fragile ego could censor “whose human rights work is mentioned in the public sphere” is frightening.