This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to two journalists from the Philippines and Russia. The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov "for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace," the Norwegian Nobel Committee tweeted Friday morning. Ressa, CNN's former lead investigative reporter in Asia, won Unesco's press freedom prize earlier this year for her reporting in the Philippines, where she manages the Rappler news website. The Nobel Committee said Ressa and Rappler have focused attention on President Rodrigo Duterte's "controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign."
Muratov helped create the Novaya Gazette, which the Committee to Protect Journalists has described as "the only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today." The Nobel Committee praised the newspaper's "fundamentally critical attitude towards power," adding that its "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," the AP reports.
"Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda," said Nobel Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen. "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." There were some 329 candidates for the prize this year. Before the prize was announced, there was speculation that it might go to a journalist or a journalists' organization, though climate activist Greta Thunberg and Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya were also considered front-runners, the New York Times reports. (Last year's prize went to the World Food Program.)