2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel

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Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia received the Nobel Prize for Peace “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.

This is the first Nobel Peace Prize for journalists since the German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

About Maria Ressa

An investigative journalist, Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a digital media platform for investigative journalism, which she continues to head.

The Nobel Committee noted that Rappler has “focused critical attention” on President Rodrigo Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. It said Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents, and manipulate the public discourse.

In the RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index, the Philippines ranked 138 of 180 nations (India was ranked lower, at 142).

Ressa, the first Filipino to win the peace prize and the first woman to be honoured this year with an award by the Nobel committee, was convicted last year of libel and sentenced to jail in a decision seen as a major blow to press global freedom

Dmitry Muratov

The Nobel Committee said Muratov has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions. During the Vladimir Putin regime, Russia has ranked 150 in the RSF’s 2021 World Freedom Index.

Five years after Muratov left the popular daily Komsomolskaya Pravda, he along with around 50 colleagues started Novaja Gazeta in 1993, as one of its founders. He has served as the newspaper’s editor-in-chief since 1995.

Committee to Protect Journalists, a US-based non-profit, had felicitated Muratov as one of its International Press Freedom awardees in 2007. CPJ had called Novaja Gazeta the only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today.

Muratov is the first Russian to win the peace prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990

Source: This post is based on the article “2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel” published in TOI on 9th Oct 2021 and “Explained: Nobel Peace Prize to independent journalists who stood up for freedom of expression” published in Indian Express on 9th Oct 2021.

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