Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov share Nobel Peace Prize 2021
08 October 2021
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information are crucial prerequisites for democracy and to protect against war and conflict. “The 2021 peace prize laureates 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,” the cpmmittee stated.
According to a press release issued by the Nobel Prize Committee, Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines.
Dmitry Muratov has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
"I'm speechless!" was Maria Ressa’s reaction when she heard the news from Olav Njølstad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, on being awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize just before the public announcement.
The editors are known for hard-hitting investigations that have angered their countries' rulers, and both have faced significant threats. They were chosen out of 329 candidates.
Ressa, who co-founded the news site Rappler, was commended for using freedom of expression to "expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines".
The award-winning journalist was convicted last year of libel in a case seen as a test of the country's press freedom.
In a live broadcast by Rappler, Ressa said her win showed that "nothing is possible without facts... a world without facts means a world without truth and trust".
In a statement, Rappler said it was "honoured and astounded" that its chief executive had been given the prize.
"It could not have come at a better time - a time when journalists and the truth are being attacked and undermined," it said.
The Nobel committee said Mr Muratov, the co-founder and editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
Several Novaya Gazeta reporters have been murdered because of their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In an interview with the popular Telegram channel Podyom, Muratov said: "I'm laughing. I didn't expect this at all. It's madness here."
He called the prize "retribution for Russian journalism which is being repressed now".
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov congratulated the editor, aying, "He persistently works in accordance with his own ideals, he is devoted to them, he is talented, he is brave."
The winners of the prestigious prize, worth 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m) will share the prize money equally.