The Norwegian Nobel Committee has jointly awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov.
The prize committee said on Friday that the award is in recognition of “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Maria Ressa, the first Filipino Nobel laureate, is the co-founder of Rappler, an investigative journalism outlet in Manila. She brought attention to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign, as well as actively documenting how social media has been used to spread fake news, intimidate political opponents and manipulate public discourse.
She had also worked as a lead investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN.
Dmitry Muratov was one of the founders of the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta. He has led the newspaper as its editor-in-chief since 1995.
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 award came a day after the media world remembered Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta’s editor who was assassinated on October 7, 2006.
The prize committee noted the importance of freedom of expression and the press, saying “it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time.”
Awarding the Peace Prize to Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov is to reiterate the importance of protecting and defending fundamental rights as provided in the will of Alfred Nobel, the prize creator, officials said. Each year, individuals are awarded for their great contribution to mankind under five categories.
This week, the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine went to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body processes senses.
The physics award went to three scientists whose work helped to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding the frontier of climate change.
On Wednesday, the prize committee announced Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan as winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry and the literature award went to a novelist whose body of work reflects the long-term effects of colonialism between cultures and continents.