Filipina and Russian given 2021 award for ‘their courageous fight for freedom of expression’
Nobel peace prize 2021 – live reaction
Agencies in Oslo
Journalists from the Philippines and Russia have been awarded the 2021 Nobel peace prize for what was described by the Norwegian committee as “their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.
Maria Ressa, the chief executive and cofounder of Rappler, and Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, were announced by Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee, in a move immediately congratulated by the UN human rights office.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Reiss-Andersen said.
“Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time.
“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,” she added.
Ressa co-founded Rappler in 2012, a news website that has focused “critical attention on the [Rodrigo] Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign,” the Nobel committee said.
She and Rappler “have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse”.
Muratov was one of the founders of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993. “Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power,” the Nobel 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 rarely mentioned by other media,” it added.
The Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, congratulated Muratov on winning the prize, hailing him as a “talented and brave” person.
“We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov – he has consistently worked in accordance with his ideals, he has adhered to his ideals, he’s talented and brave. It’s a high appraisal and we congratulate him,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters after the prize was announced.
The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10m Swedish kronor (£837,000). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, the Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.