The Nobel Peace Prize 2021 has been awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time, the Nobel Committee said.
â€śFree, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public. These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights,â€ť the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement issued on Friday.
Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, which she still heads.
â€śAs a journalist and Rapplerâ€™s CEO, Ressa has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression. Rappler has focused critical attention on the Duterte regimeâ€™s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign,â€ť the release by the Norwegian Nobel Committee has said. Ms Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse, it added.
Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Since 1995 he has been the newspaperâ€™s editor-in-chief for a total of 24 years.
"Novaja Gazetaâ€™s opponents have responded with harassment, threats, violence and murder. Since the newspaperâ€™s start, six of its journalists have been killed, 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 newspaperâ€™s independent policy. He has consistently defended the right of journalists to write anything they want about whatever they want, as long as they comply with the professional and ethical standards of journalism."