Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, 2021 Nobel Peace Laureates

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has recognized their struggle “to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and peace. lasting “, and has remarked that they represent all journalists” who defend this ideal in a world “, he says, in which democracy and freedom of the press” face increasingly adverse conditions. ”

The message of shame suffocating the uncomfortable press in Russia: "This content is from a foreign agent"

The message of shame suffocating the uncomfortable press in Russia: “This content is from a foreign agent”

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Ressa has denounced “the abuse of power, the use of violence and increasing authoritarianism” in her native Philippines. In 2012, he co-founded Rappler, a digital media outlet for investigative journalism, which she still runs and from where she has proven to be a “courageous defender of freedom of expression.” The outlet has focused critical attention on the deadly anti-drug campaign of the Rodrigo Duterte regime and has also documented how social media is used to spread disinformation, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse, the Oslo-based committee explains in a release.

Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov “has been defending freedom of expression in Russia for decades under increasingly difficult conditions,” the committee says. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, of which he has been editor-in-chief for 24 years. “Novaya Gazeta it is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power. ‚ÄĚSince its inception, the outlet has published articles on topics ranging from corruption, police violence to illegal arrests and electoral fraud. The committee recalled that they have faced harassment and threats, that six of their journalists have been killed since the newspaper’s inception, including Anna Politkovskaja.

In defense of free journalism

Ressa and Muratov will thus succeed the UN World Food Program (WFP), awarded last year for its work in the fight against hunger in the world. The Nobel Peace Prize, like the rest of the Nobel awards, is awarded on December 10, the anniversary of the death of the founder of these distinctions, Alfred Nobel.

According to the criteria that the magnate wrote in his day, this award must recognize those who contribute “to the twinning of peoples and the elimination or reduction of armies, as well as forming or promoting peace congresses.”

The Oslo-based committee has defended this Friday that free, independent and fact-based journalism “serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda”, “convinced” that freedom of expression and freedom information helps to ensure an informed public.

“These rights are crucial requirements 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 defending these fundamental rights,” the statement said. “Without freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote brotherhood among nations, disarmament and a better world order to prosper in our time.”

The Nobel Peace Prize is the fifth Nobel of those announced until this Friday and the only one of the six that is awarded and delivered outside of Sweden. Since 1901, 101 awards have been awarded. This year there were 329 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize, the third largest number in history. Of these, 234 were individuals and 95 were organizations. The committee, made up of five members appointed by the Norwegian Parliament, does not announce the names of the candidates, either to the media or to the individuals or organizations themselves.

The World Health Organization (WHO) – together with the COVAX vaccine equitable distribution mechanism and the Gavi alliance – was the favorite on the bookmakers’ lists this year. The names of Greta Thunberg, one of the strongest candidates in recent years or of the imprisoned Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalni, as well as the Belarusian politician Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya were also sounded. There was also the organization in defense of press freedom Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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