Press release October 8, 2021
Freedom House Congratulates Ressa, Muratov on Nobel Peace Prize
Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov have demonstrated extraordinary bravery in their fight for freedom of speech and government transparency.
In response to the awarding of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to journalists and free-speech activists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We commend Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their outstanding journalism, extraordinary bravery, and defense of free speech in the face of brutal repression and retaliation,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Independent, fact-based journalism that holds the powerful to account is one of the great bulwarks of democracy. Maria and her colleagues at Rappler have courageously stood up to the Duterte regime’s efforts to undermine the Philippines’ long tradition of press freedom. Under Dmitry’s leadership, Novaya Gazeta has carried on vital investigations into corruption and political violence in Russia during a time when so many outlets have lost their independence and so many journalists have been forced to self-censor or flee the country. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria and Dmitry for their defense of media freedom is a stark reminder of just how drastically democratic freedoms and civil rights have declined under the Duterte and Putin regimes. It also highlights the fact that press freedom is under attack the world over—including in democracies. Democratic governments should be vigorously defending journalists like Maria and Dmitry, and pressing states to respect and uphold their fundamental rights.”
On October 8, 2021, journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their fights to defend freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia, respectively. Ressa, who cofounded the independent news site Rappler, was commended for using freedom of expression to “expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines.” The Nobel committee said that Muratov, cofounder and editor of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions.
Ressa cofounded Rappler in 2012. It is one of the few Philippine media organizations to openly criticize President Rodrigo Duterte and his policies. Rappler has published extensively on the president’s deadly war on drugs and examined issues of misogyny, human rights violations, and corruption in the government. Ressa has faced numerous, politically motivated legal cases initiated by the Duterte regime.
Muratov cofounded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 and has since worked as its editor. Novaya Gazeta is one of the few remaining newspapers in Russia to engage in highly critical reporting on President Vladimir Putin and his regime. It regularly runs investigations into alleged corruption and other malpractice in ruling circles and highlights the plight of people it considers victims of official abuse. The newspaper has been subjected to threats and harassment, including over its reporting on human rights abuses in Chechnya.
The Philippines is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Freedom on the Net 2021. Russia is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2021 and Freedom on the Net 2021, and it is categorized as a Consolidated Authoritarian Regime in Nations in Transit 2021.
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