Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia were awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Ressa and Muratov, the Nobel Committee explained, “are representative of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.” (Watch Ressa learn of the honor above).
The BBC explains that the new laureates “are known for hard-hitting investigations that have angered their countries’ rulers, and both have faced significant threats.”
Ressa, just the 18th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in its 120 year history and the first Filipino to win any Nobel award, has faced threats for taking on Rodrigo Duterte, the Filipino strongman. The New York Times reports:
The digital media company for investigative journalism that she co-founded, Rappler, has exposed government corruption and researched the financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest of top political figures. It has also done groundbreaking work on the Duterte government’s violent anti-drug campaign.
“We’re going through a dark time, a difficult time, but I think that we hold the line,” Ressa said after winning the award.
'HOLD THE LINE'— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) October 8, 2021
Rappler CEO and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Maria Ressa has been vocal against the decline of democracy in the age of disinformation.
“We will not duck, we will not hide. We will hold the line,” said Ressa in the documentary ‘A Thousand Cuts.’ #NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/Ugug503Hnx
He was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993, and he has been the newspaper’s editor in chief since 1995. Despite a near constant barrage of harassment, threats, violence and even murder, the newspaper has continued to publish.
Muratov dedicated his award to six contributors to his newspaper who had been murdered for exposing corruption and human rights abuses.
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
“Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Stas Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Natasha Estemirova – these are the people who have today won the Nobel Prize,” Muratov said.
A Kremlin spokesman congratulated Muratov, saying “He consistently works according to his ideals, he is committed to his ideals. He is talented, he is brave, and, of course, this is a high mark.”
Ressa and Muratov are the first journalists to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 86 years. They’ll split a cash prize over a million dollars.
In a press release, The Norwegian Nobel Committee wrote:
Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public. These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights.