ICFJ Knight Award Winner, Leading Russian Editor Win Nobel Peace Prize

By: ICFJ | 10/08/2021

Washington, DC -- October 8, 2021 -- The International Center for Journalists lauds the awarding of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to two icons of the global fight for press freedom, including a former winner of ICFJ's top international journalism award.

Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia today were named laureautes of the prestigious prize, “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

Ressa, a longtime CNN reporter and a 2018 recipient of the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award, co-founded the independent news site Rappler - one of the few news outlets in the Philippines taking on the government of President Rodrigo Duterte over its human rights abuses. Today, after being convicted on a trumped-up charge in 2020, she faces a slew of other state-linked legal cases aimed at silencing her and her colleagues.

Muratov is the co-founder and longtime editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper in Russia that works with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an ICFJ partner. Novaya Gazeta journalists have taken part in ICFJ programs over the years, and investigative reporter Roman Anin worked there when he received the ICFJ Knight Award in 2013. Six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed since Muratov co-founded the news outlet in 1993, including Anna Politkovskaya, once a leading voice reporting on the Chechnya war.

“Maria and Dmitry hold power to account, fearlessly, and in the face of large-scale, coordinated attacks to silence them,” ICFJ President Sharon Moshavi said. “They epitomize the best and bravest in journalism. This prize recognizes that, and is a testament to the importance and power of great journalism.”

While announcing the prize in Oslo, Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said: "Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda.”

She called Ressa and Muratov “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.” The committee’s choice underscores “the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights,” she added.

ICFJ, working with Rappler, published a big data case study earlier this year that detailed the intensity and ferocity of online violence — from death threats to doxxing — aimed at Ressa over a five-year period. The research found evidence that some of the attacks on Ressa are coordinated or orchestrated — a hallmark of state-led disinformation campaigns. At one point, in response to an investigation on state-linked disinformation, Ressa recorded more than 90 hate messages an hour on Facebook. 

Ressa continues to fight a slew of charges and lawsuits in the Philippines, and she is forbidden to travel. She faces the prospect of decades behind bars if convicted on all counts. ICFJ and the #HoldTheLine Coalition continue to call for these spurious charges to be dropped. ICFJ co-leads the coalition, a group of more than 80 groups advocating for Ressa and press freedom in the Philippines, alongside the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

In her 2018 speech accepting the ICFJ Knight Award, Ressa urged journalists and activists to stay the course.

“Sometimes, people say you're naive or foolish. People say that about us. We're not,” Ressa said. “These times require that. Without hope, we have no energy to move forward. We have to take the long view, work together and know we are not alone. This is a global battle.”

News Category

Latest News

Why Collaboration is Vital in the Fight Against Disinformation

Disinformation remains a global problem knowing no borders — that isn't news. The key tactic for countering its harmful spread is collaboration among fact-checkers.

Take a case that occurred during our first few months running Factchequeado, a new initiative launched by Chequeado, from Argentina, and Maldita, from Spain, to counter disinformation circulating in Hispanic and Latino communities in the U.S. — which we’re so excited about!

Jornalistas lançam projetos inovadores para combater a desinformação eleitoral no Brasil

Equipes de jornalistas lançam novas ferramentas e recursos para ajudar os eleitores brasileiros a identificar a desinformação e fazer escolhas mais conscientes durante a campanha eleitoral de 2022 que começa este mês. Os projetos inovadores - desenvolvidos como parte da iniciativa Jogo Limpo - incluem desde um bot de checagem de fatos em vídeo e uma campanha de influenciadores até técnicas de gamificação para atingir os jovens.

Journalists Launch Innovative Projects to Counter Electoral Disinformation in Brazil

Teams of journalists in Brazil are rolling out new tools and resources to help voters spot disinformation and make more informed choices as the 2022 election cycle kicks off this month. The innovative projects - developed as part of the Jogo Limpo (“Fair Game”) initiative - include everything from a video fact-checking bot and an influencer campaign to gamification techniques for reaching youth.