The Nobel Peace Prize 2021 was awarded this Thursday to journalists Maria Ressa, from the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov, from Russia, for defending freedom of the press and expression, announced the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2021 was jointly awarded to journalists Maria Ressa e Dmitry Muratov for “its efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a pre-condition for democracy and lasting peace”, the statement released this morning reads.
The two journalists are awarded this prize for “their courageous struggle for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia”, the committee says, but at the same time, because they “represent all journalists who defend this ideal in a world where democracy and press freedom face increasingly adverse conditions”.
In the case of Maria Ressa, the same note points out, the Filipina “uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, the use of violence and the growing authoritarianism in his native country”.
According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, in 2012, Ressa became the co-founder of Rappler, a digital media company focused on investigative journalism. As CEO and journalist of this platform, the Filipina “has proven to be a fearless advocate of freedom of expression.”
“Rappler drew attention to the controversy and murderous anti-drug campaign of the regime of [Rodrigo] Duterte. The death toll is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population,” explains the committee.
“Ressa and Rappler are also responsible for documenting how social media is being used to spread false news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse,” the statement added.
In the case of Dmitry Muratov, the Russian journalist “has been defending freedom of expression in Russia for decades in increasingly challenging conditions“, Consider or committee.
“In 1993, he was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Since 1995, he has been the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, a position he held for 24 years. Novaja Gazeta is Russia’s most independent newspaper today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.”
“The fact-based journalism and the newspaper’s professional integrity have made it an important source of information about objectionable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” it reads.
“Since its inception, Novaja Gazeta published critical articles on issues ranging from corruption, police violence, illegal arrests, electoral fraud and ‘troll factories’ to the use of Russian military forces inside and outside the country.”
The committee recalls that opponents of this Russian newspaper have responded with “harassment, threats, violence and murder” and that, since its founding, “six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaja, who has written revealing articles on the war in Chechnya”.
“Despite the deaths and threats, the editor-in-chief Muratov refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy. It has consistently defended the right of journalists to write what they want and about what they want, as long as they meet the professional and ethical standards of journalism”, he concludes.