The Nobel Peace Prize has favored journalism this year, selecting Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov as winners. Heaps of congratulations were showered upon the two. The two continue to work tirelessly to preserve the integrity of a free media. Both Ressa and Muratov have taken on extremely strict regimes, and risked safety by criticizing those in power.
Fighting to keep standards of journalism safe
Ressa is the founder of Rappler, an independent and digital investigation platform. She is critical of Philippines President Roberto Duterte’s actions, and still faces a threat to herself. She was earlier sentenced to jail for ‘cyber libel’. Ressa says that winning the award is quite emotional, and that free media has never been as important as it is today. She is also the only female winner of the Nobel Prize this year.
Dmitry Muratov, on the other hand, dedicates his award to journalists who have laid down their lives for the profession. He heads one of the few independent media outlets in Russia, and has seen his own colleagues lose their lives. Muratov also claims the award be given to Putin’s fiercest rival, Alexei Navalny. Navalny was poisoned last year, allegedly with Kremlin involvement. He remains in jail today.
The Academy has acknowledged the increased threat to free and fair media this year, in light of major restrictions laid down by multiple regimes, across the world. The last time a journalist won a Nobel Prize was in 1935.
This initiative by the awarding committee is immensely helpful to promote safe journalism. The media continues to be downgraded from its position of being the ‘fourth pillar’ of democracy, with ruling powers blatantly misusing it. The Academy lauded the two journalists by saying that they are “representatives” of freedom of expression. The award stands as a testament to the fact that free and fair journalism is simply protection of the democracy, and thereby of the society.