António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), congratulated Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021.
The prize, according to the UN head, recognizes the importance of a free press for peace, justice, sustainable development, and human rights.
Ressa is the CEO and cofounder of the online news organization Rappler in the Philippines, while Muratov is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
According to Guterres, society cannot be free and fair without journalists who probe wrongdoings, disseminate information, hold leaders accountable, and speak the truth to power.
Ex-Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has denounced the rise in violence and harassment directed at journalists, both in person and online.
“In the fight against misinformation and deception, free and independent journalists is our most powerful friend,” he said.
Ressa was arrested for “alleged offences relating to the exercise of her job” and was exposed to a campaign of online threats and harassment based on her gender.
The former CNN Asia lead investigative journalist and head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs was among the journalists honored by Time Magazine person’s of the year.
Muratov’s journal has been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s administration on a regular basis.
Novaya Gazeta has also received threats and intimidation as a result of its reporting, which has included coverage of human rights violations in Chechnya.
The award came a day after the 15th anniversary of the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, one of six Novaya Gazeta journalists.