The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to protect freedom of expression, which is a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace. Ressa and Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous struggle for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly unfavorable conditions.
Maria Ressa uses her freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, the use of violence and the rise of authoritarianism in her native Philippines. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism that she still runs. As Rappler journalist and CEO, Ressa has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression. Rappler has focused critical attention on the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. The death toll is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population. Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.
Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov has defended freedom of speech in Russia for decades in increasingly challenging conditions. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Since 1995 he has been the newspaper’s editor-in-chief for a total of 24 years. Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power. Fact-based journalism and the newspaper’s professional integrity have made it an important source of information on the censored aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media. Since its inception in 1993, Novaya Gazeta has published critical articles on topics ranging from corruption, police violence, illegal arrests, electoral fraud and “troll factories” to the use of Russian military forces inside and outside Russia.
Opponents of Novaja Gazeta have responded with harassment, threats, violence and killings. Since the newspaper’s inception, six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya, who wrote revealing articles on the war in Chechnya. Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov has refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy. He has consistently defended the right of journalists to write whatever they want about whatever they want, as long as they conform to the professional and ethical standards of journalism.
Free, independent, and fact-based journalism serves to defend 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 essential preconditions for democracy and protect against war and conflict. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to underline the importance of protecting and safeguarding these fundamental rights.
Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote brotherhood among nations, disarmament, and a better world order to succeed in our time. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is strongly linked to the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will.ibna
Source: Nobel Prize