autocrats fear Nobel will recognize journalists

Less than a year after journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their fight for press freedom, both media outlets have been forcibly shut down.

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov (Image: Nobel Prize Outreach/Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien)
Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov (Image: Nobel Prize Outreach/Geir Anders Rybakken Ørslien)

It took just eight months for autocrats to retaliate for the shame that the power of independent journalism was recognized in October with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yesterday, 2021 winner Maria Ressa revealed that the legal creation of Rappler, the news website she co-founded in 2012, was shut down by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission over claims it had received foreign funding. This would put an end to his ability to operate in the country.

It follows the closure of the Russian Novaya Gazeta in March, the post-Soviet newspaper published by Ressa’s co-laureate Dmitry Muratov, after repeated warnings from Roskomnadzor, the country’s media regulator. It took place under new legislation that curbed coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making it a crime, among other things, to describe the invasion as a “war”. (Rozkomnadzor is a Russian-language acronym for the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media.)