Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitriy Muratov win the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize
Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitriy Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Besides notoriety, they will receive gold medals and share a cash prize of 10 million Swedish kronor, or about $1.14 million.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised Prisa and Muratov for being “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world where democracy and press freedom face increasingly adverse conditions.”
“Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose the abuse of power, the use of violence and the growth of authoritarianism in her home country, the Philippines,” the commission said in a statement on Friday. “For decades, Dmitry Muratov has defended freedom of expression in Russia under increasingly difficult conditions.”
Ressa, 58, co-founded the Philippines-based online news website in 2012. As a journalist and CEO of Rappler, she has “focused critical attention” on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial policies, including his “deadly anti-drug campaign,” according to The Norwegian Nobel Committee.
“The death toll is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s population,” the commission said. “Ms. Ressa and Rappler also documented how social media is used to spread fake news, harass opponents, and manipulate public discourse.”
Ressa has been the target of several arrests and an online hate campaign after articles critical of Duterte’s regime were published. She was named Person of the Year 2018 by Time magazine.
In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in 2019, Lebanese and British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney described Risa, her client, as a “5ft2 Filipino journalist but who stands taller than many of us in her courage and personal sacrifice in order to tell the truth.” “.
Muratov, 59, co-founded the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993. He has been the newspaper’s editor-in-chief since 1995. Novaya Gazeta, with Muratov at its head, “is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a primarily critical attitude towards power ” According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
“The newspaper’s journalism based on facts and professional integrity has made it an important source of information about censored aspects of Russian society that are rarely mentioned by other media,” the committee said. Since its inception in 1993, Novaja Gazeta has published critical articles on topics ranging from corruption, police violence, illegal arrests, electoral fraud and ‘trolley factories’ to the use of Russian military forces inside and outside Russia.”
For years, Novaya Gazeta has been one of the few national news publications in Russia to report critically on Russian President Vladimir Putin, conducting in-depth and serious investigations into the regime’s alleged human rights abuses and corruption. In 2007, Muratov won the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists for his work as the “driving force” behind Novaya Gazeta.
Both Muratov and Novaya Gazeta are seen as strongholds of the beleaguered free press in Russia. Since the newspaper’s founding, six of its journalists have been murdered, including investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building on Putin’s birthday in 2006. Novaya Gazeta journalists continue to receive threats for their coverage.
“Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. “He has consistently championed the right of journalists to write anything they want about whatever they want, as long as they adhere to professional and ethical standards of journalism.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has congratulated Muratov on winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
“He has consistently acted in accordance with his ideals, adhered to his ideals, is talented and courageous,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Friday. “It is very much appreciated and we congratulate him.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that freedom of expression and freedom of information are “critical prerequisites for democracy and protection from war and conflict,” and that this year’s awarding of the prestigious award to Risa and Muratov “aims to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights.”
The committee added that “a free, independent and fact-based press protects against abuse of power, lies and propaganda for war.” “Without freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to succeed in promoting brotherhood among nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time.”
Members of the press have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize since 1907, when Italian journalist Ernesto Teodoro Moneta was awarded “for his work in journalism and at peace meetings, public and private, for understanding between France and Italy”. The prize was also awarded that year to the French jurist Louis Renault “for his decisive influence on the management and results of the Hague and Geneva Conferences”.
Nobel Peace Prize last year on the World Food Program, the Food Aid Branch of the United Nations, “for his efforts to combat hunger, for his contribution to the improvement of peace conditions in conflict-affected areas and for his work as a driving force in efforts to prevent hunger from being used as a weapon of war and conflict.”
The Peace Prize was the fifth and final prize category mentioned by Swedish inventor and researcher Alfred Nobel in his last will. He left most of his fortune to go to a series of awards, the Nobel Prizes.
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually to “the one who has done the greatest or best work of fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the establishment and promotion of peace conferences,” as described in the Nobel will.
All Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, Norway.
To date, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate is Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she was awarded the 2014 Peace Prize. Of the 107 individuals who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, only 17 are women.
Only one person has rejected the Nobel Peace Prize: Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho, who received the prize in 1973 with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for negotiating the Vietnam Peace Agreement.
ABC News’s Patrick Revel and Tanya Stokalova contributed to this report.