The Nobel Women’s Initiative welcomes the recognition of the critically important role a free press plays in global peace with the awarding of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. Nobel peace laureates Shirin Ebadi, Riboberta Menchú Tum, Tawakkol Karman, Leymah Gbowee and Jody Williams send their warm and heartfelt congratulations to the recipients.
The Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Ressa and Muratov for “their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” The Committee added that Ressa and Muratov 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.”
In 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler, a Philippines-based investigative journalism website. Rappler has documented Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign. For her work in exposing the persecution and summary execution of thousands of people under the Duterte regime, Ressa has faced multiple charges and was convicted of libel and sentenced to jail. Ressa is currently out on bail but is still facing seven active charges. In addition to Ressa’s fearless defence of freedom of expression, the Nobel Committee also noted Ressa’s and Rappler’s work in documenting “how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.”
Muratov is the co-founder and, since 1995, the editor-in-chief of Russia’s independent newspaper, Novaja Gazeta. Novaja Gazeta has published articles exposing government corruption, police violence, electoral fraud and Russian military actions in and outside Russia. Since the founding of the newspaper, its reporters have faced harassment, imprisonment and violence. In accepting the award, Muratov dedicated it to the six Novaja Gazeta’s journalists that have been killed.
“A free and independent press is vital to building and sustaining peace,” said Tawakkol Karman, journalist and Nobel Peace Laureate. “But worldwide, freedom of expression is under threat, press freedoms are being curtailed and independent facts – a prerequisite to an informed public – are being manipulated or suppressed.”
This year, the Nobel Peace Prize pays tribute to fact-based journalism and to the courageous reporters who daily defend our right to information.
We, at the Nobel Women’s Initiative, extend our solidarity to Maria Ressa, Dmitry Muratov and to all journalists working in the service of peace.
Maria Ressa, Power & Politics, CBC, 12 October, 2021.
Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, Al Jazeera, 8 October, 2021.