In a statement posted to their official site, the committee praised the duo “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. 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.”
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Ressa co-founded Rappler, an investigative journalism company based in the Philippines, in 2012. The company’s work has included investigations into President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial anti-drug campaign, how social media has been used to harass political opponents and the spread of fake news.
Muratov has fought for decades for freedom of speech in Russia, including founding and serving as the longtime editor-in-chief of independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Topics the paper has covered include corruption and electoral fraud, and although six of the newspaper’s journalists have been killed due to shining lights on controversial topics, Muratov has not wavered in his leadership.
The committee explained the decisions further, writing, “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public. These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights. 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. This year’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize is therefore firmly anchored in the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will.”
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