Journalists Maria Ressa, Dmitry Muratov awarded 2021 Nobel Peace Prize
- The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that freedom of expression and freedom of information are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protection against war and conflict
Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression", which the Norwegian Nobel Committee called a “precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Announcing the name of the peace prize laureates, Norwegian Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said that Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in the Philippines, her native country.
In 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism. Ressa has focussed on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial “war on drug” campaign that has claimed thousands of lives.
Human rights organisations have claimed the Philippines' police are falsifying evidence to justify the unlawful killings.
Ressa and her digital media company have also documented the spread of fake news, harassing opponents and manipulation of public discourse using social media.
Russian journalist Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov co-founded the newspaper Novaja Gazeta, which, according to the committee, is the most independent newspaper in the country today. The committee said that Murato has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under “increasingly challenging conditions.”
The Russian newspaper has been publishing critical articles questioning the abuse of power, corruption, electoral fraud and “troll factories”. Novaja Gazeta's journalists have faced harassment, threats, and violence from its opponents and six of its journalists have been killed so far, including Anna Politkovskaja who wrote “revealing articles” on the war in Chechnya.
“Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov has refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy,” the committee said.
The committee stressed that free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda. It further stated that freedom of expression and freedom of information are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protection against war and conflict.
“The award of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights,” it added.
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