Two journalists – Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov in Russia – have won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for their longstanding work to defend freedom of expression.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said as she announced the prize in Oslo on October 8.
The AEJ’s media freedom representative William Horsley writes that the award can make a difference:
”The Nobel Committee has spoken in the name of the most powerful court in the world – the court of informed public opinion.”
He adds that the Nobel Prize award “raises public awareness of the need for urgent and effective actions to reverse what it calls the ‘adverse conditions’ for democracy and freedom of the press today.”
The Nobel prize committee chair said the award was intended to “underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights.”
This Nobel Peace Prize is the first for journalists since 1935 when German Carl von Ossietzky won it for revealing Germany’s secret post-war rearmament programme.
Ressa is co-founder and CEO of Rappler, a news site which has consistently exposed the “abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism” by the regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The award-winning journalist was convicted last year of libel in a case seen as a test of the country’s press freedom and was the focus earlier this year of an innovative and unprecedented global solidarity campaign.
Muratov is co-founder and editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta which has defended freedom of speech in Russia for decades under increasingly challenging conditions. Six of its journalists have been murdered since it started in 1993 including Anna Politkovskaya who exposed Russian human rights in its war in Chechnya. The award came one day after the 15th anniversary of her killing.
The Committee to Protect Journalists says 17 media workers have been killed in the Philippines in the last decade and 23 in Russia.
Nobel Peace Prize award 2021
AEJ media freedom representative on the impact
BBC on Nobel Peace Prize 2021
CNN on Nobel Peace Prize 2021
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The Guardian on Nobel Peace Prize 2021
Maria Ressa convicted of libel – BBC
Maria Ressa convicted of libel – The Guardian
Maria Ressa global solidarity campaign