This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is being shared by Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, the founder of the Manila-based investigative news website Rappler, and Russian journalist Dmitri Muratov, the editor of the Moscow-based independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
“We extend our warmest congratulations to the two winners, who embody the fight for journalistic independence,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “This prize is an extraordinary tribute to journalism and a mobilisation appeal, because this decade will be absolutely decisive for journalism. It is a powerful message at a time when democracies are being undermined by the spread of fake news and hate speech.”
RSF and the #HoldTheLine coalition jointly launched an unprecedented solidarity campaign for Ressa in July 2020, creating a dedicated website on which a fund-raising appeal and hundreds of videos recorded by influential figures will continue to play non-stop until the Philippine authorities drop all the charges they have brought against Ressa and Rappler.
Ressa is one of the 25 members of the Information and Democracy Commission that RSF created in 2018 to devise democratic safeguards for the online information and communication domain. The Declaration issued by the Commission gave rise to a Partnership for Information and Democracy which 43 governments have joined.
In the Forum on Information and Democracy, the entity created to help implement the Partnership’s policies, Ressa co-chaired the working group on combatting “infodemics”, which published 250 recommendations in November 2020.
RSF has also repeatedly defended Novaya Gazeta, the constantly harassed tri-weekly edited by Muratov, who dedicated his Nobel Peace Prize to the six Novaya Gazeta journalists and contributors who have been murdered since the newspaper was created in 1993.
They include Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter who was murdered in 2006 because of her uncompromising coverage of the Second Chechen War. The day before the Nobel Peace Prize was announced was the 15th anniversary of her death. It was also Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday. To mark the event, RSF staged protests in Paris, London and Berlin, taking Putin to task over the climate of impunity for crimes of violence against journalists in his country.