SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Two journalists whose work has angered the authorities in Russia and the Philippines were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their fight for freedom of expressions in their countries.
Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were given the award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Anderson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a press conference, according to Reuters.
“At the same time, 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 added.
The prize is the first for journalists since the German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme, Reuters reported.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Reiss-Andersen said.
Muratov is editor-in-chief of Russian investigative newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which has defied the Kremlin under President Vladimir Putin with probes into wrongdoing and corruption, and extensively covered the conflict in Ukraine.
He is the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev – who himself helped set up Novaya Gazeta with the money he received from winning the award in 1990.
The Kremlin congratulated Muratov on the award.
Ressa heads Rappler, a digital media company which she co-founded in 2012, and which has grown prominent through investigative reporting, including into large scale killings during a police campaign against drugs.
In August, a Philippine court dismissed a libel case against Ressa, one of several lawsuits filed against the journalist who says she has been targeted because of her news site’s critical reports on President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.