The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize early Friday to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov "for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace." Ressa co-founded the digital media company Rappler in her native Philippines, while Muratov co-founded and remains editor-in-chief of Novaja Gazeta, which the Nobel committee calls "the most independent newspaper in Russia today."
Ressa and Muratov "are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia," the Nobel committee said. "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."
Rappler, which Ressa helped found in 2012 and still leads, "has focused critical attention on the Duterte regime's controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign" and "documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents, and manipulate public discourse," the Nobel committee said. "Since its start-up in 1993, Novaja Gazeta has published critical articles on subjects ranging from corruption, police violence, unlawful arrests, electoral fraud, and 'troll factories' to the use of Russian military forces both within and outside Russia." Muratov has "refused to abandon the newspaper's independent policy" even as "six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya," the committee said. The statute of limitations for Politkovskaya's still-unsolved murder expired Thursday.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it decided to award this year's Peace Prize to fierce defenders of "free, independent, and fact-back journalism" because "freedom of expression and freedom of information" are "crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict. ... 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."