Journalist Maria Ressa is the first Filipino to ever win the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday, October 8, that Ressa, CEO and president of Rappler, and Dmitry Muratov of Novaja Gazeta of Russia are this year’s peace laureates.
It said that the committee has decided to award the two journalists “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
“The 2021 peace prize laureates are representative of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” it said on its website.
Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines, while Muratov has for decades defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions, it said.
Rappler, in a statement, said it is honored and astounded by the Nobel Peace Prize Award given to their CEO.
“It could not have come at a better time – a time when journalists and the truth are being attacked and undermined. We thank the Nobel for recognizing all journalists both in the Philippines and in the world who continue to shine the light even in the darkest and toughest hours,” it said.
They also thanked everyone who has been “part of the daily struggle to uphold the truth and who continues to hold the line with us.”
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) congratulated Ressa and Muratov for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021.
It said that Ressa is the first Filipino individual recipient of the prestigious award.
“This prize is not only a recognition of their work but of the importance of freedom of the press and of expression in their countries and throughout the world,” NUJP said.
They added, “We commend them for defending these freedoms in increasingly challenging conditions — in Ressa’s case, these challenging conditions have included a raft of cases and legal proceedings — and are proud to be in the community of independent journalists ready to hold the line with them. We hope this award will shine more light on those who put the spotlight on the truth at a time when basic freedoms and democracy are under attack.”*