Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win Nobel Peace Prize

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(CNN) — The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.

Ressa is the CEO of Rappler, a news outlet critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's regime, while Muratov heads the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

"Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda," Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said as she announced the prize in Oslo on Friday.

She said the committee's choice "is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights."

Ressa, a former CNN bureau chief and TIME Person of the Year, has been engulfed in legal battles in recent years and says she has been targeted because of her news site's critical reports on Duterte.

"We need to sound the alert to every person in a democracy," Ressa told CNN in 2019 on her fight for freedom of expression. "These freedoms are being eroded in front of our eyes ... If you don't have facts, you can't have truth."

Muratov co-founded Novaya Gazeta in 1993 and has been its editor-in-chief since 1995. Six staff members at the independent newspaper have been killed since that time, 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," it said.

The committee added that Muratov has "consistently defended the right of journalists to write anything they want about whatever they want, as long as they comply with the professional and ethical standards of journalism."

It is the 102nd time the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded. Previous winners include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Polish dissident Lech Walesa, the Soviet Union's last leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and four US Presidents.

Last year the UN's World Food Programme claimed the prize.

Ressa becomes the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize this year. The awards in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature were given out earlier this week.

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