Journalists from Philippines, Russia bag Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited their fight for freedom of expression, stressing that it is vital in promoting peace

Philippines’ journalist Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmrity Muratov won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Philippines’ journalist Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmrity Muratov won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited their fight for freedom of expression, stressing that it is vital in promoting peace.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, Chair of the committee. “Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time,” she further said.

According to the statement by the Nobel committee, Ressa co-founded Rappler in 2012, a news website that has focused critical attention on the President Rodrigo Duterte regime’s controversial and murderous anti-drug campaign.

Advertisement

Also read: Tanzania’s Abdulrazak Gurnah wins Nobel Prize for Literature

By using Rappler, Ressa has also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse. Reacting to the news, she told Norway’s TV2 that the Philippines government ‘will obviously not be happy’.

“I’m a little shocked. It is really emotional,” Ressa said, adding that she is happy on behalf of her whole team. “(I) would like to thank the Nobel Committee for recognizing what we are going through,” she said.

Muratov was one of the founders of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993.

“Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power,” the Nobel committee said.

“The newspaper’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” it added.

The Nobel committee noted that since the launch of Novaya Gazeta, six of its journalists have been killed, among them being Anna Politkovskaya, who covered Russia’s bloody conflict in Chechnya.

Also read: Two scientists share Nobel in Chemistry for ‘greener way’ to build molecules

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hailed Muratov as a talented and brave person.

“We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov he has consistently worked in accordance with his ideals,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters after the prize was announced.

Reiss-Andersen noted that the Peace prize has gone to journalists in the past, including Ernesto Teodoro Moneta of Italy, who was cited in 1907 for “his work in the press and in peace meetings.”

In 1935, Carl von Ossietzky was awarded the prize for “his burning love for freedom of thought and expression,” after revealing that Germany was secretly re-arming after World War I.

Reiss-Andersen also noted the risks to free speech in today’s world due to the spread of fake news, noting that Ressa has been critical of Facebook’s role in manipulating public debate. “Conveying fake news and information that is propaganda and untrue is also a violation of freedom of expression, and all freedom of expression has its limitations. That is also a very important factor in this debate,” she said.

The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in Physiology or Medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries of how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Also read: Here’s what Nobel prize winners for Physics did to deserve the honour

Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry Wednesday for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.

The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded on Thursday to UK-based Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was recognized for “his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee.”

The winners of the Nobel Prize for Economics will be announced on Monday.

(With inputs from Agencies)

CATCH US ON: