This year, the Nobel Peace Prize goes to two critical journalists who daily risk a lot to defend human rights and democracy. It is also an encouragement to independent critical journalists around the world.
- Who are this year’s winners?
- What is the connection between journalism and democracy?
- What challenges does journalism face?
- How can journalism make the difference between war and peace?
It is rare that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to journalists, but in 2021 Maria Ressa from the media house Rappler in the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov from the newspaper Novaya Gazeta in Russia were awarded the honorary prize.
According to THENAILMYTHOLOGY.COM, the two media leaders are at the forefront of criticism of authoritarian governments in their respective countries. Thus, they live dangerously. At the same time, they are clear role models and show how important journalism is as a mainstay for democracy.
2: Journalism and democracy
Journalistic media must preserve their independence from the state apparatus and press groups. They will investigate those in power without interference and censorship.
The journalists must be the voice of the voiceless , representing the interests of those who are often called “weak groups” in society. They must safeguard human rights and expose discrimination, corruption and abuse.
Not least, journalists must increasingly navigate a society where lies and false news are widely spread, and where many relate more to non-journalistic social media than to edited news media.
The prerequisites for journalism to survive are that the reporters uncompromisingly search for facts. Only by being careful of facts that establish truth and accountability can they build the people’s trust and thus strengthen democracy.
But journalism faces major challenges around the world.
3: Dimitrij Muratov and Novaya Gazeta
The announcement of this year’s Peace Prize came on 8 October. The day before, it was 15 years since one of Russia’s most famous opposition journalists, Anna Politovskaya, was killed. No one has been arrested or punished for the murder.
Politovskaya was a colleague of Dmitry Muratov (59). During his 26 years as editor of Russia’s leading opposition newspaper, he has experienced that four other employees and a supportive lawyer have also been killed. When informed of the award, he responded by dedicating it to his dead colleagues.
His newspaper, Novaya Gazeta , has dug deep to reveal who killed activists in Russia, individuals who had criticized President Vladimir Putin . In early 2015, a female journalist affiliated with the newspaper infiltrated a Russian magic factory , which systematically produced lies to weaken the opposition. She revealed close ties between the factory and the Putin regime.
In February of the same year, the prominent activist Boris Nemtsov was killed. Novaya Gazeta then worked hard to expose links between the killers and the regime . The troll factory, for its part, did its best to obscure the regime’s ties to those behind the assassination.
Due to Novaja Gazeta’s highly critical of the regime, their premises have been attacked several times, including with chemicals.
4: Maria Ressa and Rappler
Maria Ressa (58) has for many years had indictments and arrest warrants pending against her for revelations of corruption and misrule in the Philippines.
During a digital event at World Press Freedom Day on May 3 this year , she said: “It has never been tougher to be a journalist, to carry out the journalistic mission, and to hold those in power accountable. It has never been as dangerous and risky as it is today. ”
She further said that she could receive 90 hate messages per hour, not least because of her criticism of the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte.
She has eleven pending lawsuits and has been arrested several times. In 2019 alone, she was released on bail eight times. Her lawyer, Amal Clooney, says she risks a hundred years in prison if she is convicted in the cases that have been brought against her. One of those she was convicted of in 2020 was about an eight-year-old story that happened at a time when the law used against her did not exist.
In a comment on the award, Ressa says that the award is a recognition of how difficult it is to be a journalist today.
President Duterte, who has ruled the country since 2016, has been accused of corruption and his ruthless policy of killing thousands of drug addicts.
He has publicly threatened Rappler and banned Rappler’s journalists from being present when carrying out his official duties. He accuses them of false news, and has even spread false news that the United States owns Rappler . He has also claimed that the medium “is not Filipino” .
Three days after the announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize, the news came that President Duterte congratulated Ressa and called the prize a victory for the Philippines. President Putin was out a little faster and congratulated Muratov right after the announcement. But the congratulations were hardly particularly heartfelt.