By The Associated Press
Journalists, human rights activists and many others enthusiastically welcomed the awarding of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to two journalists at a time when media groups around the world face new pressures and crackdowns from the authorities.
Friday’s announcement awarding the peace prize to Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia. marked a rare bright spot amid growing harassment of reporters in many parts of the world. Another new threat is the rise of misinformation, even in established democracies.
Here are some of the comments about the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to honor Ressa and Muratov:
“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. 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.” — Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines congratulates journalist Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Her win is a victory for press freedom advocates across the Philippines, which remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.”
“Reporters routinely face online harassment, local newsrooms face pressure to self-censor, and regional journalists remain the most vulnerable to violence, including detention and killings. … We hope that Ressa’s win drives international attention to the plight of the Philippines’ local media workers, and sends a signal that a free, unstifled and critical press is necessary for a healthy democracy.” — The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
“To be a journalist in Russia, the Philippines, and a growing number of other countries is to place one’s life in unmitigated peril. The long arm of authoritarianism reaching across borders and even into free societies means that no matter where they go, those who seek to do them harm may be hiding in the shadows. Safe harbor is difficult to come by, and yet Maria and Dmitry know that without the work they and countless others do, darkness would settle with corruption and brutality shrouded in impenetrable secrecy.” — Suzanne Nossel. the CEO of PEN America, a free expression group.
“This is an extraordinary tribute to journalism, an excellent tribute to all journalists who take risks everywhere around the world to defend the right to information. … It will be a decisive decade for journalism. Journalism is in danger, journalism is weakened, journalism is threatened. Democracies are weakened by disinformation, by rumors, by hate speech. This prize is a great signal a very powerful message to defend journalism everywhere.” — Christophe Deloire of the media rights group Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.
“She has sacrificed her own freedom for the rights of journalists all over the world and I am grateful to the Nobel Committee for shining a light on her incredible courage. I hope the Philippine authorities will now stop persecuting her and other journalists and that this prize helps to protect the press around the world.” — Amal Clooney, Ressa’s London-based lawyer.
“A painful strike to the Russian authorities was made, because the freedom of speech and the principles of independent journalism are an evil in the eyes of Russian authorities. They fight with it, especially now, when dozens of journalists and media got a status of foreign agents. … The world community can see and appreciates all this.” — Moscow-based political analyst Abbas Gallyamov.
“Freedom of expression is a part of democracy, and democratic systems are proven to be more stable, less likely to go to war with each other, less likely to experience civil war. I think the important thing about a media that’s truly free is that it not only acts independently, but it respects the truth. And that seems to me to be also an important part not just of democracy, but also of the work towards peace.” — Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
“I am very happy the award went to Novaya Gazeta. They are our friends. I know many of the journalists and editors at this brave media outlet and I know the tragic history of some journalists who were working for Novaya Gazeta and were killed in Russia. This is very important for our Russian colleagues. In Poland the situation is very different, of course. But we have also been under attack from the government for five years and we see disinformation and propaganda by the public broadcaster. In my opinion this a very important signal to the world that democracy does not exist without free media.” — Roman Imielski, deputy editor of the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza.
“The award raises the media’s role in modern world. I congratulate Dmitry Muratov, a wonderful, brave and honest journalist and my friend.” Former Soviet leader and 1990 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, a co-founder and co-owner of Novaya Gazeta, in an interview with Interfax. Gorbachev gave part of his Nobel prize money to the newspaper to help it buy office equipment.
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