The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia.
They were cited for their fight for freedom of expression as the reason for being bestowed with the award
The winners of the prestigious prize, worth 10m Swedish krona (£836,000; $1.1m), were announced at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo on Friday.
They were chosen out of 329 candidates.
“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
“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.”
Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler, a news website that has focused “critical attention on the (President Rodrigo) Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign,” the Nobel committee said.
She and Rappler “have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse.”
Muratov was one of the founders of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993.
“Novaya Gazeta is the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power,” the Nobel 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 added.
In a live broadcast by Rappler, Ms Ressa said she was “in shock”.
She said her win showed that “nothing is possible without facts… a world without facts means a world without truth and trust”.
In a statement, Rappler said it was “honoured and astounded” that its chief executive had been given the prize.
“It could not have come at a better time – a time when journalists and the truth are being attacked and undermined,” it said.
In an interview with the popular Telegram channel Podyom, Mr Muratov said: “I’m laughing. I didn’t expect this at all. It’s madness here.”
He called the prize “retribution for Russian journalism which is being repressed now”.
The Nobel Peace Prize is intended to honour an individual or organisation that has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations”.
The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
Additional reporting from AP And BBC