Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dimitri Muratov of Russia are the winners of the coveted international award for 2021.
—Ms. Ressa has been a leading advocate of press freedom in her country, and the target of repeated efforts of the Philippines government to silence her.
—Mr. Muratov co-founded Novaya Gazeta, described by the Nobel Committee as “the most independent newspaper in Russia today.”
As the Nobel Committee stated in its announcement: “Without freedom of expression and press freedom, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament, and a better world order in our time.”
To quote Committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen: “These two award winners are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world where democracy and press freedom face increasingly adverse conditions.”
The Nobel Peace Prize is closely followed by the Public Diplomacy Council and other PD supporters in Washington. It is one of five major international awards established in 1901 in the will of Alfred Nobel, a prominent Swedish industrial leader. Dr. Nobel was a well-known arms manufacturer.
The Ressa and Muratov cases: brief histories
At a hearing in the Philippines last year, Ms. Ressa was convicted of “cyberlibel” and ordered to pay more than 6,000 pounds sterling for her alleged violations there. Her response: “Are we going to lose freedom of the press? Will it be death by a thousand cuts, or are we going to hold the line so that we protect the rights that are part of our constitution?”
Dimitri Muratov is editor of Novaya Gazeta, known in Russia and abroad for what has been widely characterized as “hard-hitting investigative work.” The Washington Post on Oct. 8 reported that Mr. Muratov “played a key role in strengthening Russia’s independent journalism after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“Novaya Gazeta,” the Post added, “is known for its hard-hitting investigative work, breaking big stories about the Chechnya war or the conduct of a new class of government-linked Russian billionaires. But it has paid a huge cost: six of its journalists have been killed.
“Alexei Navalny, the now-jailed Russian political activist who was poisoned in 2020, grew his own support there thanks to his investigative reports about Russia’s elite”.
And Time magazine wrote on October 8, “Mr. Muratov played a key role helping Russia’s independent journalism after the fall of the Soviet Union, helping it survive in extremely difficult conditions in modern Russia.”
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More