Journalists from the Philippines and Russia were awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for fighting for freedom of expression in their countries.
Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov of Russia were awarded the prize for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement.
“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,” the committee said.
#NobelPrize laureate 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, @rapplerdotcom, a digital media company for investigative journalism. pic.twitter.com/C8W8NBqY7T— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 8, 2021
The committee lauded Ressa for using freedom of expression to “expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism” in her country.
Ressa co-founded the digital media company Rappler in 2012, and has focused on Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s “murderous” anti-drug campaign, the committee said. Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is used to harass opponents and manipulate public disclosure.
Muratov founded the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993, and has been its editor-in-chief since 1995. The paper has covered a variety of subjects from corruption, electoral fraud and the use of Russian military forces at home and abroad.
Dmitry Muratov – awarded the 2021 #NobelPeacePrize – 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, @novaya_gazeta.#NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/AXF8a3CDGZ— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 8, 2021
Since the paper was founded, six of its reporters have been killed, the committee said. Despite the killings, Muratov has “refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy.”
Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said in a statement that Ressa and Muratov “personify the values of press freedom and the reason it matters.”
“These are journalists under personal threat, who continuously defy censorship and repression to report the news, and have led the way for others to do the same,” Simon said.
Fifty-eight journalists have been killed in Russia and 87 have been killed in the Philippines since 1992 due to their work, according to the CPJ.