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Saturday, 23 October 2021 11.56 PM IST

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to journalists Maria Ressa, Dmitry Muratov

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OSLO: The Nobel Peace Prize was on Friday awarded to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia for their fight for freedom of expression in their countries.

The pair were honoured "for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace," said the chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

"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," she said.

Ressa, 58, told Norwegian TV2 she was "shocked" and "emotional" to receive the honour, which she said would give her and her colleagues "tremendous energy to continue the fight."

In 2012, Ressa co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, which she still heads, while Muratov is one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Rappler has "focused critical attention on the Duterte regime's controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign," Reiss-Andersen said.

"The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country's own population," Reiss-Andersen said.

Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.

Ressa, a former CNN correspondent who also holds US citizenship, is currently on bail pending an appeal against a conviction last year in a cyber-libel case, for which she faces up to six years in prison.

Muratov, 59, has defended freedom of speech in Russia for decades, under increasingly challenging conditions.

In 1993, he was a founder of Novaya Gazeta, which has a "fundamentally critical attitude towards power" the committee said. He has been its editor-in-chief since 1995.

Novaya Gazeta's opponents have responded with harassment, threats, violence and murder.

Since the newspaper's start, six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya who wrote revealing articles on the war in Chechnya.

"Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov has refused to abandon the newspaper's independent policy," Reiss-Andersen said.

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TAGS: NOBEL PEACE PRICE, AWARDED, JOURNALISTS, MARIA RESSA, DMITRY MURATOV
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