Two journalists from the Philippines and Russia have won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
The esteemed prize recognized the vital importance of an independent media to uphold democracy, and used the moment to also warn that democracy is increasingly under assault.
Chief executive and cofounder of Rappler Maria Ressa and editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazette Dmitry Muratov were the recipients.
Chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee Berit Reiss-Anderson praised the journalists’ courageous fight for freedom of expression, saying that it was a crucial precondition for democracy as well as peace. The committee said Ressa and Muratov uphold these ideals.
Known as the journalists who took on Putin and Duterte, each journalist is renown for investigations that have angered the rulers of their respective countries, and have published the work under significant threat. Exposing government human rights violations, corruption, misrule and other misconducts, Muratov and Ressa dedicated themselves to upholding free, independent, fact-based journalism.
Muratov dedicated his Nobel award to six contributors to his Moscow paper, all of whom had been murdered for their work exposing human rights violations and corruption.
Ressa said the prize was a global recognition of a journalisms role in “repairing, fixing our broken world.” She said that it has never been as hard on journalists as it is today. Philippine authorities have brought years of legal cases against her for her work on Rappler, attempting to stop her reports.
Reiss-Anderson said the Nobel committee wanted the journalists’ award to show the world the importance of dedicated, rigorous journalism, especially at a time when falsehoods and misinformation spreads so easily.
On the respective leaders of the countries the journalists live in, Reiss-Anderson said that she does not have insight into the minds of neither Putin nor Duterte, but hope that they will realize attention is on their countries and that they will have to defend their present situations. In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov congratulated Muratov, calling him talented and brave.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented December 10.