Nobel Prize

Groups hail Nobel Prize winners Ressa, Muratov: ‘Their struggle is our struggle’

Vernise Tantuco
Groups hail Nobel Prize winners Ressa, Muratov: ‘Their struggle is our struggle’
Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win the Nobel Peace Prize 'for their courageous fight for freedom of expression' in the Philippines and Russia, respectively

Various groups have sent out messages of congratulations and support for Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov following their 2021 Nobel Peace Prize win on Friday, October 8.

The two journalists were awarded “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression” in the Philippines and Russia and for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace,” according to the awarding body.

This is the first Nobel Peace Prize for journalists since 1935, and the first awarded to a Filipino.

Below are the statements that various groups at home and abroad have released in relation to their win. World leaders have also sent congratulatory statements to the journalists.

Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International

Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov’s Nobel Peace Prize win is a victory not only for independent, critical journalism in The Philippines and Russia, but for the fight for justice, accountability and freedom of expression all over the world.

For more than three decades, Maria Ressa has worked tirelessly as a journalist in the Philippines, carrying out vital investigative reporting on corruption, abuses of power, and human rights violations in President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly so-called war on drugs. As the co-founder of Rappler, a highly lauded and uncompromising online news site, she’s opened the world’s eyes to the brutality and pervasive impunity in the Philippines. Put simply, she is a global icon for press freedom.

Dmitry Muratov has been a rock for free media in Russia, his newspaper producing hard-hitting, fearless journalism in the face of mortal danger in the country’s increasingly perilous press environment. He is one of the few who continue to hold power to account. We salute the indefatigable professionalism and courage not only of Mr Muratov, but of all those Russian journalists who have suffered while carrying out their professional duties.

The Russian and Philippines authorities must take note of Dmitry Muratov’s and Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize win and end their relentless attack on press freedom.

National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP)

This prize is not only a recognition of their work but of the importance of freedom of the press and of expression in their countries and throughout the world.

We commend them for defending these freedoms in increasingly challenging conditions – in Ressa’s case, these challenging conditions have included a raft of cases and legal proceedings – and are proud to be in the community of independent journalists ready to hold the line with them.

We hope this award will shine more light on those who put the spotlight on the truth at a time when basic freedoms and democracy are under attack.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

CPJ executive director Joel Simon said, “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.”

Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines

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.

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary

Maria and Rappler, the publication she leads, have faced vicious attacks for reporting the truth to the people of the Philippines. Countless bogus court cases and a vitriolic social media campaign powered by the Duterte regime have targeted her personally. Despite terrible odds and at great personal cost, Maria has been unwavering, holding the line for truth and democracy. We are delighted to see the Nobel Committee recognize her and the critical importance of her fight to us all.

International Association of Women in Radio & Television

“We see Ressa’s recognition as a vindication for many Filipino journalists who have been subjected to relentless attacks – those who have been harassed, red-tagged, slapped with libel and cyberlibel charges, arrested, and killed.”

College Editors Guild of the Philippines

More than the recognition of her work on an international platform, this prize also serves as a wake-up call for Filipinos to remain stalwart and unyielding in the face of oppression, especially in the turbulent and disruptive times of the pandemic and the Philippine national elections. In these times, when those in power stubbornly continue to be anti-truth, let this acknowledgement of our struggles empower us to assert our right to expression.

To believe in the prestige and the credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize and its committee while discrediting the truth of Maria Ressa and her struggle is hypocrisy.

Ateneo Press

Ateneo Press congratulated Ressa and shared a poem, “Verdict,” which is part of College Boy, a collection of poems written by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta. Lacuesta dedicated this poem to Ressa when she was convicted of cyber libel in June 2020.

– Rappler.com

Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.