The Nobel Prizes were just awarded today, and we just got our very first Nobel laureate.
This year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two journalists for fearlessly reporting the truth even if it meant angering authorities: Dmitry Muratov, a Russian journalist who formed the sociopolitical newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the Philippines’ own Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of Rappler.
“They are 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,” Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said about the two.
Aside from this being our first Nobel, this is also the first Nobel given to a journalist since 1935, according to Reuters.
This came as a surprise to both journalists and their teams. “We’re shocked. We didn’t know,” Reuters quotes a Novaya Gazeta journalist saying.
Meanwhile, Rappler managing editor and co-founder Glenda Gloria wrote on Facebook, “Rappler is honored—and astounded—by the Nobel Peace Prize Award given to our CEO Maria Ressa. It could not have come at a better time–a time when journalists and the truth are being attacked and undermined.”
Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo congratulated Ressa on her win on Twitter. “This is a recognition and affirmation of your tireless efforts to hold the line for truth and accountability. I applaud your courage. Mabuhay ka!”
Congratulations to @mariaressa for being awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize! This is a recognition and affirmation of your tireless efforts to hold the line for truth and accountability. I applaud your courage. Mabuhay ka! pic.twitter.com/o5RQXoXdG6
This is not the first time Ressa has been recognized for her work in journalism. She was a Time Person of the Year in 2018, and last year’s documentary “A Thousand Cuts” was devoted to how she handled threats and harassment following Rappler’s coverage of the drug war. In 2020, she was convicted of a cyberlibel case that has been widely criticized as an attack against press freedom.
Photo screengrabbed from “A Thousand Cuts” trailer