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Nobel Peace Prize for “two spikes in the flesh of the mighty”

The Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee uses the award of the Nobel Peace Prize this year to honor the role of journalism and freedom of the press and awards it to Maria Ressa and Dmitri Muratov.

They received the award “for their courageous struggle for freedom of expression in the Philippines and in Russia”, the announcement reads, and further: “At the same time, they stand on behalf of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which the Democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly difficult conditions. “

Nobel Peace Prize for "two spikes in the flesh of the mighty"

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said the chairman of the Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen. She paid tribute to Ressa who, as a journalist and director of Rappler, a digital medium for investigative journalism, has proven herself to be an intrepid defender of freedom of expression. The journalist used the freedom of the press to expose “abuse of power, violence and growing authoritarianism” in the Philippines.

Muratov, co-founder of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, refused to give up the independence of his newspaper despite murders and threats and consistently campaigned for the rights of journalists, said Reiss-Andersen. Five Novaya Gazeta employees have been murdered by unknown perpetrators since 2000.

In an initial statement, Ressa was very emotional. She is “in shock”, but she was also “very, very grateful and happy” for her team. The Philippine government will “of course not be happy”. Muratov, in turn, announced that he would use the cash bonus for the development of suppressed journalism in Russia: The Nobel Peace Prize is endowed with ten million Swedish kronor (around 980,000 euros).

The international reactions to the decision were mostly positive for the “recognition of journalistic work”: The organization Reporter also warned of dangers for the profession: “Journalism is ailing because the democracies are too”. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights congratulated all journalists. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI saw the award as an encouragement for others to tell the truth even under difficult circumstances. And even the Kremlin tried to be polite: “Congratulations.”

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