Journalists Maria Ressa from Philippines and Russia’s Dmitry Muratov have won the Nobel Peace Prize for their fights to defend freedom of expression in their respective countries.
The Nobel committee described the two as “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal”. Ms Ressa and Muratov are known for investigations that have miffed their countries’ rulers, and have faced significant threats. The winners of the prestigious prize, worth 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m; Ksh110 million), were chosen out of 329 candidates.
Both spoke in defence of freedom of the press following their win. Ms Ressa, who co-founded the news site Rappler, was commended for using freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in Philippines.
The Nobel committee said Mr Muratov, the co-founder and editor of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” the committee said in a statement.
“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,” it added.
Ms Ressa, an award-winning journalist, was convicted last year of libel in a case seen as a test of Philippine press freedom.
“This shows that the Nobel Peace Prize committee realised that a world without facts means a world without truth and trust,” she said.
Mr Muratov dedicated his prize to reporters at Novaya Gazeta who had been killed because of their work.
The award came a day after the 15th anniversary of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya – one of the paper’s top investigative reporters and vocal critic of Russia’s war in Chechnya, who was shot in a lift in her block of flats. (reporting by BBC)
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