A prize for democracy and freedom of speech

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov is especially important at this time, when truth and freedom of speech are under attack, says Executive Director Kjersti Fløgstad.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 has been jointly given to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov. A couple of hours after the announcement in Oslo Friday, the new laureates were displayed on their own screen in the Nobel Field exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center, along with all the other Nobel Peace Prize laureates throughout the ages.

The two journalists are awarded the prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.

"They are also representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world where democracy and freedom of the press are increasingly under attack,"
Norwegian Nobel Committee

“This is a particularly important and timely award,” says Nobel Peace Center Executive Director Kjersti Fløgstad, “Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are increasingly under threat from the emergence of fake news and the increasing restrictions placed upon the media by governing powers in many countries. With this award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee makes it clear that freedom of expression is an important prerequisite for democracy and peace in the world.”

Many journalists have received the Nobel Peace Prize over the years, including Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, Liu Xiaobo from China, and the German editor Carl von Ossietzky. The leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, emphasized the connection between peace and freedom of the press.

According to the Committee, “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect society from lies, war propaganda and abuses of power. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and information helps to ensure an informed public. These rights are crucial prerequisites for democracy and protection against war and conflict.”

At the Nobel Peace Center, work is now starting on the Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition 2021, which will open on 11 December - the day after the award ceremony in Oslo City Hall.

"We look forward to spending an entire year communicating the courageous work of the two journalists and the importance of freedom of expression. This is a very important issue and remains relevant here in Norway, despite the country’s top rank on the press freedom index", Fløgstad says.

"The two Nobel Peace Prize laureates have shown enormous personal courage in their efforts to convey the truth about the communities in which they live. This has made a profound impression and we warmly congratulate them on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."