IFEX hails Nobel Peace Prize award as underlining why press freedom is essential for democracy & human rights

IFEX, the global network of over 100 organisations dedicated to promoting and defending the right to freedom of expression and information, welcomes today’s announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. This award sends a strong message, amid rising authoritarianism and misinformation, that freedom of expression and press freedom are crucial to peace, democracy, and human rights.

“Today’s award is a testament to the necessity of press freedom for a functioning democracy, and well-deserved recognition that the work of journalists like Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is more important than ever in protecting all of us against the rise of authoritarianism,” stated IFEX Executive Director Annie Game.

Maria Ressa is a prominent journalist from the Philippines and co-founder of Rappler, a digital media company. Ressa has long worked to end state interference in the media, and in recent years has been charged and tried multiple times for her work exposing abuse of power and authoritarianism in the Philippines. IFEX has been proud to stand in solidarity with Ressa and continues to call for charges against her to be dropped.

Dmitry Muratov is the longstanding editor of Novaya Gazeta, one of the few remaining independent newspapers in Russia. Over the years, Novaya Gazeta’s staff have been the target of threats and violent retaliations, including the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya 15 years ago on 7 October 2006. In his reaction to today’s Nobel Peace Prize news, he dedicated the award to all his former colleagues who were killed for doing their job.

The Nobel Committee’s press release emphasized the journalists’ “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”. As a global network committed to promoting the right to freedom of expression and working to make the link between that right and all others, IFEX is pleased to see the Nobel Committee making this connection, particularly regarding the work of both Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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