The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on October 8 that it had awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to two journalists, Maria Ressa of the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov, of Russia, for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, describing them as representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal.
The Committee stressed that freedom of expression is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.
In a statement issued in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, the Committee said Ms Ressa, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism based in Manilla, and Mr Muratov, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the independent newspaper, Novaja Gazeta, which is based in Moscow, were awarded the Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.
The Committee said: “At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”
It noted that Ms Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, adding that as a journalist and Rappler’s CEO, she has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression.
The Committee similarly praised Mr. Muratov for his decades of defense of freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions, adding that his newspaper’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media.
It said: “Free, 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.”
According to the Committee, the award of the Prize to Ms Ressa and Mr. Muratov was intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights, adding that “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.”