Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel Prize for peace on Friday for their work exposing authoritarianism and abuse of power.
Ressa, a citizen of the Philippines, co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, in 2012. Muratov, a Russian national, is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of independent newspaper Novaja Gazeta.
Ressa and Muratov received the prize “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”, the Nobel award committee said in a statement.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that Ressa “uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country”.
The committee said that she had focused on criticism of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign”.
Ressa told NDTV in an interview: “We must make sure we keep democracy alive. We do get the democracy we deserve.”
She added: “News organisations have lost their gatekeeping powers to technology platforms, which have made facts debatable. I think this [the Nobel] is a recognition of the importance of facts in any shared reality to find solutions.”
Ressa said the Nobel committee has also recognised how difficult it has been to hold those in power accountable. “At the same time, it [the recognition] will give us more energy to craft the years ahead,” she added.
Meanwhile for Muratov ,the Nobel committee said the journalist has defended the right to freedom of speech for decades in Russia “under increasingly challenging conditions”.
“Novaja Gazeta’s fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media,” the committee said.
The committee also noted that since Novaja Gazeta began operations, six of its journalists have been killed.