Norway: Journalists Maria Ressa, of the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov, of Russia, have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, recognised “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”, which the prize-giving committee described as being under threat worldwide.
The two were given the prestigious award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday.
“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 told a news conference in Norway’s capital, Oslo.
The prize is the first for journalists since German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Reiss-Andersen said.
Ressa, who founded investigative journalism website Rappler, has focused much of her work on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial and violent war on drugs.
“I am in shock,” Ressa told a live broadcast by Rappler after learning of the award.
Muratov founded the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993 and has been its editor-in-chief for 24 years. It is today one of the very few independent media outlets in Russia, and has seen six of its journalists murdered during that time.
Soon after the announcement, the Kremlin congratulated the Russian journalist despite the fact that his newspaper has often criticised Russian authorities.
“We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “He persistently works in accordance with his own ideals, he is devoted to them, he is talented, he is brave,” he added.
Last year’s prize went to the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe.