Two critical journalists from Russia and the Philippines have won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. This was announced by the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo this morning.
According to the committee, Maria Ressa (Philippines) and Dmitry Muratov (Russia) receive the prize for their efforts to guarantee freedom of expression, a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.
“Both are fighting courageously for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia. But, at the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world where democracy and press freedom are becoming increasingly unfavourable.”
Ressa uses freedom of speech to denounce the abuse of power, violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines. In 2012, she co-founded Rappler, an investigative digital media company that she still runs. Rappler has drawn critical attention to the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign. The organization has also documented how social media spreads fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public debate.
Muratov has defended freedom of expression in Russia for decades under increasingly difficult circumstances. In 1993 he was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta. Since 1995, he has been editor-in-chief of the newspaper for a total of 24 years. Novaya Gazeta is Russia’s most independent newspaper today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power. Since its inception, Novaya Gazeta has published critical articles on topics ranging from corruption, police brutality, illegal arrests, electoral fraud and “troll factories” to the use of Russian armed forces both inside and outside Russia.
Every winner of a Nobel Prize receives from the committee a gold medal, a diploma and a cash prize of almost 1 million euros. The list of potential winners is secret, but it is not forbidden to make a nomination public.
Last year, the World Food Program won. We have now known for several months that a total of 329 candidates – people and organizations – were nominated this year. Well-known candidates included Greta Thunberg and Black Lives Matter, NATO, WHO, activists in Hong Kong, UN refugee agency UNHCR, opposition members Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Belarus) and Alexei Navalny (Russia) and former US President Donald Trump.
Every year on December 10, the Nobel Prizes are awarded in Sweden, in the capital Stockholm. Except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo, the capital of Norway.