The Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 was awarded to Philippines journalist Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, on Friday.
The joint award was for their investigative works and achievements towards the fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.
Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference that, “Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.
“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,” she added.
Reiss-Andersen further expounded on the importance of fact-based journalism towards entrenching a better society.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies, and war propaganda.
“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,” she stated.
In 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler, a news website that has focused “critical attention on the (President Rodrigo) Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign,” the Nobel committee said.
Muratov was one of the founders of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993.
“Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.
“The 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,” the Nobel Committee added.
The prize is the first for journalists since the German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.