The organisers of the Nobel Peace Prize showed some welcome creativity and useful shrewdness in giving this year’s award to two brave journalists fighting for press freedom in hostile conditions – Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov, based in Russia.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has acknowledged without a free media there can be no true democracy, and without democracy there is more likely to be war. They have shown courage in speaking out for the liberties taken for granted in the west, and been persecuted for it. It is only right that they, and also on behalf of journalists around the world, should be recognised for the sacrifices they have made.
It takes guts to stand up to the likes of Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte. They have set a formidable example to the trade of journalism – just as other writers who put themselves in danger did. The prize, informally, is also a reminder of those who have been murdered for seeking the truth – Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, James Foley in Syria, Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Jefferson Pureza Lopes in Brazil and Marie Colvin, seemingly targeted as Bashar al-Assad's forces bombarded Homs in Syria, are other prominent examples. There are of course many more who have been killed, and countless others who are beaten, intimidated or imprisoned in the pursuit of truth.
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