Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov of Russia won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee stressed that a free and independent press is essential to achieving and maintaining peace in the world.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen said.
Ressa, who co-founded the digital investigative site Rappler in 2012, was credited by the committee for her work to expose the “abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country.”
Muratov, a staunch defender of freedom of speech in Russia under the increasingly authoritarian government of Vladimir Putin, co-founded the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993 and he has served as top editor since 1995.
The Nobel committee credited Novaya Gazeta as “the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 media workers were killed in the Philippines in the last decade and 23 in Russia. (Since the paper’s launch, six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed.)
Ressa and Muratov will each receive gold medal and a half share of a prize worth 10 million Swedish kronor (roughly $1.14 million).