NEWSPAPERS: Free speech campaigning journalists win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Maria Ressa, journalist and CEO of the Rappler news website, poses before a news conference to launch a commission to draft an "International Declaration on Information and Democracy" hold by Human rights group Reporters Without Borders in Paris, France, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa speaks to the media after pleading not guilty to tax evasion charges, in Rappler’s office in Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 22, 2020. 

OSLO, October 8 (Reuters) – Two journalists whose work has angered the authorities in Russia and the Philippines were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today.
It is honouring the right to free speech which the prize-giving committee described as under threat around the globe, including West Dunbartonshire where our digital news platform, The Dumbarton Democrat, has been banned from asking questions by the SNP-run council. 

Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were given the award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference.

Novaya Gazeta's editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov speaks during an interview in Moscow October 4, 2011. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

“At the same time, 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,” she added.

The prize is the first for journalists since the German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Reiss-Andersen said.

Democrat owner/editor Bill Heaney, who has won the Scottish Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year award three times and was later a judge in that competition, said: “West Dunbartonshire and indeed Secret Scotland as a whole has become a democratic backwater under the SNP.

“It’s outrageous that Jonathan McColl and his SNP colleagues have done their best to gag our news platform which has since its inception had more than 500,000 visits from readers.”

He added: “We treat this SNP ban as a badge of honour for our trade and we are dismayed that Labour members of the council have accepted it without protest.”

The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

* Reporting by Gwladys Fouche 

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