The Committee to Protect Journalists congratulates journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, who were awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize today. Their award comes at a time of unprecedented attacks on journalists in the form of sweeping crackdowns, digital surveillance, and an erosion of public trust in journalism.
“Dmitry Muratov and Maria Ressa personify the values of press freedom and the reason it matters. These are journalists under personal threat, who continuously defy censorship and repression to report the news, and have led the way for others to do the same,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “This Nobel Peace Prize is a powerful recognition of their tireless work, and that of journalists all around the world. Their struggle is our struggle.”
In a statement, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was honoring Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, and as symbolic of journalists globally fighting to protect press freedom.
Dmitry Muratov is editor-in-chief and founder of Novaya Gazeta, one of the few remaining independent newspapers left in Russia today. He is also a 2007 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, given annually to recognize courage in journalism. Novaya Gazeta is known for its in-depth investigations on sensitive issues like corruption, human rights, and abuse of power. It has paid a heavy price for this pioneering work; several of their reporters have been killed. Yesterday (October 7) marked the 15th anniversary of the murder of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who gained international recognition for her fearless coverage of Chechnya and the North Caucasus.
Filipino journalist Maria Ressa is facing extreme threats in the Philippines as state-orchestrated attacks escalate against her and Rappler, the news organization she founded. This follows her conviction on a criminal cyber libel charge. In 2018, Ressa was awarded CPJ’s 2018 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, in recognition of her sustained and committed work as a champion of press freedom. CPJ has also been a leader of the #HoldTheLine coalition, alongside the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF), to help support Ressa and defend independent journalism in the Philippines.
Journalists in the Philippines and Russia have both faced an onslaught of attacks in the last decade. Both countries have some of the highest rates of impunity in journalist murders globally. Since 1992, 58 journalists have been killed for their work in Russia and 87 in the Philippines, which also experienced the single deadliest attack on journalists of any country in the world when 32 journalists and media workers were killed in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
Globally, 1416 journalists have been killed since 1992, and in 2020, CPJ marked a dark benchmark when it recorded a record number of journalists behind bars.