Nobel Prize awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov due to fight for freedom of expression

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to two journalists who were cited for their fight for freedom of expression.

Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov, left, and Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa.

Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia were announced as winners today by the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and approximately £830,000.

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee hailed the pair for their fight for freedom of expression, saying it is vital in promoting future peace.

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

"Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time.”

Ms Ressa co-founded Rappler back in 2012, a news website aiming to shine a light on President Rodrigo Duterte regime's “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign", according to the Nobel committee.

The site also documented “how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse".

Speaking to a Norgrgian TV channel, Ms Ressa said that "the government of the Philippines will obviously not be happy".

"I'm a little shocked. It's really emotional.

"But I am happy on behalf of my team and would like to thank the Nobel committee for recognising what we are going through."

In 1993, Mr Muratov was one of the founders of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

"Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power," the committee said.

"The newspaper's fact-based journalism and professional integrity have made it an important source of information on censurable aspects of Russian society rarely mentioned by other media."

The Nobel committee said since the launch of Novaya Gazeta, six of its journalists have been killed, including Anna Politkovskaya, who has been covering Russia's bloody conflict in Chechnya.

a Kremlin spokesman hailed Mr Muratov as a "talented and brave" person.

"We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov - he has consistently worked in accordance with his ideals.”

Ms Reiss-Andersen added: "Conveying fake news and information that is propaganda and untrue is also a violation of freedom of expression, and all freedom of expression has its limitations. That is also a very important factor in this debate."

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