Journalists receive the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for Democracy and Freedom of Expression
Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov from Russia, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as defenders of truth.
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For 85 years, journalists did not receive a Nobel Peace Prize for their service. The Norwegian Nobel Committee broke that drought by awarding two journalists on Friday for upholding democracy.
The award ceremony signified a remarkable moment in history for journalism and our human right to freedom of expression. In an age where public trust continues to diminish as part of global digital advancements, it is more prevalent that journalists remain the truthsayers of society.
Maria Ressa, investigative journalist and CEO of Rappler, was the first media recipient to deliver her speech. She used her time to focus on the importance of journalists “holding the line” as traditional gatekeepers to accountability.
In her 35 years experience as a journalist, like others, she experienced abuse, threats, and time in prison for what she published. Even despite at one point receiving ten arrest warrants in the Philippines, Ressa says the profession has both good and bad stories worth telling.
“Without facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth, you can’t have trust. Without trust, we have no shared reality, no democracy, and it becomes impossible to deal with our world’s existential problems,” said Ressa.
During her speech, Ressa also addressed the disease of fake news circulating on social media. She says media companies like Facebook are a leading contributor that threatens our democracy.
Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov, a Russian journalist, received the prize for his dedication to reporting the news despite unsafe conditions. Early in his career, Muratov helped found one of Russia’s most independent newspapers, the Novaya Gazeta, in 1993.
The committee recognized the threats and violence Muratov and journalists faced at the publication. He was chosen for articles that targeted police brutality, electoral fraud, and corruption in the country.
Muratov believes in the power of a free press and advocates on behalf of journalists to not give up on the profession.
“I want journalists to die old,” said Muratov during his speech.
A free press is a powerful tool in the hands of its civilians that has the ability to accurately inform, disarm wars between nations, and sustain humanity today and tomorrow.