The Norwegian Nobel Committee Friday awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
At a ceremony in Oslo, Norwegian Nobel Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen announced the winners, saying, “Ms. Ressa and Mr. Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and in Russia.”
In a statement, the committee said Philippine journalist Maria Ressa is being recognized for her fearless use of freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country. As an in investigative journalist and co-founder of the digital media company Rappler, Ressa focused critical attention on President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial anti-drug campaign.
Ms Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents, and manipulate public discourse.
The committee honored Russian journalist Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov for his decades-long defense of freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions. In 1993, he co-founded the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta and has been its editor in chief since 1995. It is considered to be the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power.
The committee said the newspaper’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society. It has published critical articles on subjects including corruption, police violence, unlawful arrests, electoral fraud and the use of Russian military forces both within and outside Russia.
The two journalists will share a $1.1 million cash prize.
The Nobel Prizes for medicine, physics, chemistry, and literature have also been awarded this week. The prize for economics will be awarded Monday.
The awards will all be formally presented in December. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the academy announced this year’s ceremony will be a mixture of digital and physical events. Laureates will receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas in their home countries.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.