Media groups welcome 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for journalists

Dmitry Muratov

FILE – A combo of file images of Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov, left, and of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa. On Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia for their fight for freedom of expression. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel and Aaron Favila, File)

Journalists, human rights groups and other activists enthusiastically welcomed the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to two reporters at a time when media around the world face new pressures and crackdowns from the authorities.

Friday’s announcement awarding the peace prize to Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia marked a rare bright spot amid growing harassment of reporters in many parts of the world. Another threat is the rise of misinformation, even in established democracies, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

Some comments about the decision to honor Ressa and Muratov:


“Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa personify the values of press freedom and the reason it matters. These are journalists under personal threat, who continuously defy censorship and repression to report the news, and have led the way for others to do the same. This Nobel Peace Prize is a powerful recognition of their tireless work, and that of journalists all around the world. Their struggle is our struggle.” — Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.


“No society can be free and fair without journalists who are able to investigate wrongdoing, bring information to citizens, hold leaders accountable and speak truth to power. Yet anti-media rhetoric — and attacks against media workers — continue to rise. … At the same time, while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, it is also used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred. Falsehoods trump facts, and this cannot become the new normal. Free and independent journalism is our greatest ally in combating misinformation and disinformation.” — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


“Like so many journalists around the world, Ressa and Muratov have pursued the facts — tirelessly and fearlessly. They have worked to check the abuse of power, expose corruption, and demand transparency. They have been tenacious in founding independent media outlets and defending them against forces that seek their silence. And, for their commitment to the basic principles of the free press — principles that are indispensable to a healthy democracy — they have faced constant threats, harassment and intimidation, legal action, and even, in the case of Muratov, the death of his colleagues. Ressa, Muratov, and journalists like them all around the world are on the front lines of a global battle for the very idea of the truth, and I, along with people everywhere, am grateful for their groundbreaking work to ‘hold the line,’ as Ressa so often says.” — U.S. President Joe Biden.


“The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines congratulates journalist Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Her win is a victory for press freedom advocates across the Philippines, which remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.”

“Reporters routinely face online harassment, local newsrooms face pressure to self-censor, and regional journalists remain the most vulnerable to violence, including detention and killings. … We hope that Ressa’s win drives international attention to the plight of the Philippines’ local media workers, and sends a signal that a free, unstifled and critical press is necessary for a healthy democracy.” — The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.


“We can’t be too naive about what the repercussions are going to be. It’s not like Rodrigo Duterte or Vladimir Putin are going to be stopped in their tracks by having one of their antagonists elevated in this way. But I think it does energize the community of advocates and supporters and readers of independent media to recognize that this work is incredibly important, that it has a fundamental role to play in the fostering of peace, democracy and thriving civil societies.” — Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of PEN America, a free expression group.


“It’s a powerful statement against the harassment and persecution of journalists just for doing their jobs in the public interest. Journalists have gotten a lot of criticism, a lot of heat and I think what people often forget is that journalistic freedom is about the public’s right to know. It’s not really about journalists’ rights.” — Stephen J. Adler, chairman of the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press.


“This is an extraordinary tribute to journalism, an excellent tribute to all journalists who take risks everywhere around the world to defend the right to information. … It will be a decisive decade for journalism. Journalism is in danger, journalism is weakened, journalism is threatened. Democracies are weakened by disinformation, by rumors, by hate speech. This prize is a great signal a very powerful message to defend journalism everywhere.” — Christophe Deloire of the media rights group Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.


“For more than three decades, Maria Ressa has worked tirelessly as a journalist in the Philippines, carrying out vital investigative reporting on corruption, abuses of power, and human rights violations in President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly so-called war on drugs. As the co-founder of Rappler, a highly lauded and uncompromising online news site, she’s opened the world’s eyes to the brutality and pervasive impunity in the Philippines. Put simply, she is a global icon for press freedom.”

“Dmitry Muratov has been a rock for free media in Russia, his newspaper producing hard-hitting, fearless journalism in the face of mortal danger in the country’s increasingly perilous press environment. He is one of the few who continue to hold power to account. We salute the indefatigable professionalism and courage not only of Mr. Muratov, but of all those Russian journalists who have suffered while carrying out their professional duties.” — Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.


“She has sacrificed her own freedom for the rights of journalists all over the world and I am grateful to the Nobel Committee for shining a light on her incredible courage. I hope the Philippine authorities will now stop persecuting her and other journalists and that this prize helps to protect the press around the world.” — Amal Clooney, Ressa’s London-based lawyer.


“A painful strike to the Russian authorities was made, because the freedom of speech and the principles of independent journalism are an evil in the eyes of Russian authorities. They fight with it, especially now, when dozens of journalists and media got a status of foreign agents. … The world community can see and appreciates all this.” — Moscow-based political analyst Abbas Gallyamov.


“Freedom of expression is a part of democracy, and democratic systems are proven to be more stable, less likely to go to war with each other, less likely to experience civil war. I think the important thing about a media that’s truly free is that it not only acts independently, but it respects the truth. And that seems to me to be also an important part not just of democracy, but also of the work towards peace.” — Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.


“Maria has been an inspiration to the world as she fought for the truth and for her rights and in fact the rights of free people everywhere as the leader of Rappler. We know she has a smile on her face this morning because she is almost always smiling. We do too. The Nobel Committee could not have picked a better person to represent journalists. … She reminds us of all that is best in our profession. Her drive for truth and her passion and determination are impressive to witness. Her voice reminds us of our role in democracy, and, of our place in the world. This award could not come at a better time as a free press is being attacked across the planet.” — Lisa Nicole Matthews, president of the National Press Club, and Angela Greiling Keane, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute.


“I am very happy the award went to Novaya Gazeta. They are our friends. I know many of the journalists and editors at this brave media outlet and I know the tragic history of some journalists who were working for Novaya Gazeta and were killed in Russia. This is very important for our Russian colleagues. In Poland the situation is very different, of course. But we have also been under attack from the government for five years and we see disinformation and propaganda by the public broadcaster. In my opinion this a very important signal to the world that democracy does not exist without free media.” — Roman Imielski, deputy editor of the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.


“The award raises the media’s role in modern world. I congratulate Dmitry Muratov, a wonderful, brave and honest journalist and my friend.” — Former Soviet leader and 1990 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, a co-founder and co-owner of Novaya Gazeta, in an interview with Interfax.

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