Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two courageous free speech campaigners

Oslo: The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their “courageous” defence of freedom of speech and expression in the Philippines and Russia.

The chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Anderson, made the announcement at a ceremony in Oslo on Friday morning local-time.

Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler.Credit:AP

“The committee is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public,” she said.

“These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict.”

The pair beat 328 other nominees who were undisclosed but thought to include teenage climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and exiled Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.

There was also speculation the prize could go to a person or organisation involved in the coronavirus pandemic such as the creators behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov.Credit:AP

Ressa co-founded Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism, in 2012. She has focussed heavily on the Duterte regimes “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign”, Reiss-Anderson said.

Maria Ressa has kept a close eye on and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.Credit:Headpress/Getty Images

Muratov is a longstanding defender of freedom of speech in Russia and was the founder of the independent newspaper Novaja Gareta. Six of the masthead’s journalists have been killed since the paper was founded in 1993.

Last year’s prize went to the United Nations’ World Food Program for its work in fighting acute hunger.

The Nobel Prize has been running since 1901.

Aldred Nobel’s will said the prize should go to “the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses”.

Three scientists won the Nobel Prize for physics on Tuesday for helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Syukuro Manabe, 90, originally from Japan and Klaus Hasselmann, 89, from Germany were cited for their work in “the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”.

The Nobel Prize.Credit:AP

The second half of the prize was awarded to Giorgio Parisi, 73, for “the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.

The panel said Manabe and Hasselmann “laid the foundation of our knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity influences it”.

While the Norwegian Nobel Committee is led by a woman and has a majority of members who are women, the organisation has been criticised for a lack of diversity in this year’s list of winners.

All eight winners of the 2021 Nobel prizes in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature have been men.

With AP

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