October 21, 2021

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel

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, 2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, 2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
, 2 journalists battling for freedom of expression awarded peace Nobel, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

NEW DELHI: Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, who braved the wrath of the leaders of the Philippines and Russia to expose corruption and misrule, won the Nobel peace prize on Friday, in an endorsement of free speech under fire worldwide.
The two were awarded “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression” in their countries, chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference.
“At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” she added. “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.”
Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a news website that the committee noted had focused critical attention on President Rodrigo Duterte‘s “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign” in the Philippines.
She and Rappler “have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse’’, it said.
Muratov was one of the founders in 1993 of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which the Nobel committee called “the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power”.
“The newspaper’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,” it added, noting that six of its journalists were killed since its founding.
Ressa, the first Filipino to win the peace prize and the first woman to be honoured this year with an award by the Nobel committee, was convicted last year of libel and sentenced to jail in a decision seen as a major blow to press global freedom.
Currently out on bail but facing seven active legal cases, Ressa, 58, said she hopes the award will bolster investigative journalism “that will hold power to account”.
Muratov, 59, told reporters he sees the prize as an award to Novaya Gazeta journalists and contributors who were killed, including Anna Politkovskaya, who covered Russia’s bloody conflict in Chechnya.
“It’s a recognition of the memory of our fallen colleagues,” he said.
“Since the Nobel peace prize isn’t awarded posthumously, they came up with this so that Anya could take it, but through other, second hands,” Muratov said, referring to Politkovskaya.
“Igor Domnikov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Stas Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, Natasha Estemirova — these are the people who have today won the Nobel Prize,” Muratov said, reciting the names of the six whose portraits hang in the newspaper’s Moscow headquarters. He also said he would have given the prize to Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin‘s fiercest domestic critic, who was jailed this year over parole violations he said were trumped up to thwart his political ambitions.
In an interview with Reuters in Manila, Ressa called the prize “a global recognition of the journalist’s role in repairing, fixing our broken world”.
“It’s never been as hard to be journalist as it is today,” said Ressa, a 35-year veteran journalist, who said she was tested by years of legal cases in the Philippines brought by the authorities over the work of her Rappler investigative website.
“You don’t really know who you are until you are forced to fight for it.”
This is the first Nobel peace prize for journalists since the German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.
Muratov is the first Russian to win the peace prize since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990. Gorbachev himself has long been associated with Muratov’s newspaper, having contributed some of his Nobel prize money to help set it up in the early post-Soviet days when Russians expected new freedoms. He congratulated Muratov on Friday, calling him “a wonderful, brave and honest journalist and my friend”.
Ressa was one of several journalists named Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for fighting media intimidation, and her legal battles have raised international concern about the harassment of media in the Philippines, a country once seen as a standard bearer for press freedom in Asia.
Russian journalists have faced an increasingly difficult environment in recent years, with many being forced to register as agents of foreign states, a designation that invites official paperwork and public contempt.
“We will leverage this prize in the interests of Russian journalism which (the authorities) are now trying to repress,” Muratov told Podyom, a journalism website. “We will try to help people who have been recognised as agents, who are now being treated like dirt and being exiled from the country.”
Reiss-Andersen said the Nobel committee intended the award to send a message about the importance of rigorous journalism at a time when technology has made it easier than ever to spread falsehoods.
“We find that people are manipulated by the press, and… fact-based, high-quality journalism is in fact more and more restricted,” she told Reuters.
It was also was a way to shine a light on the difficult situations for journalists, specifically under the leadership in Russia and the Philippines, she added.
“I don’t have insight in the minds of neither Duterte, nor Putin. But what they will discover is that the attention is directed towards their nations, and where they will have to defend the present situation, and I am curious how they will respond,” Reiss-Andersen told Reuters.
The Kremlin congratulated Muratov.
“He persistently works in accordance with his own ideals, he is devoted to them, he is talented, he is brave,” said spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Nobel peace prize will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

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