UN chief urges global effort to protect press after Nobel wins
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged a global effort to protect a free press as he and the United States separately congratulated embattled journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov on winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
"As we congratulate the award winners, let us reaffirm the right to press freedom, recognize the fundamental role of journalists and reinforce efforts at every level to support a free, independent and diverse media," Guterres said in a statement he read to reporters.
"No society can be free and fair without journalists who are able to investigate wrongdoing, bring information to citizens, hold leaders accountable and speak truth to power," he said.
"This cannot become the new normal," he said.
In Washington, a State Department spokesperson congratulated the two winners and said that "freedom of expression remains under threat in many parts of the world."
He said the United States will "stand in solidarity with independent journalists in Russia" after the prize was co-won by Muratov, the chief editor of the Novaya Gazeta newspaper whose top investigative reporter, Anna Politkovskaya, is one of six journalists and contributors killed for their work since 2000.
"The United States has deep admiration for the bravery and integrity of the journalists of Novaya Gazeta, who under Mr Muratov's leadership continue to report the truth in the face of serious threats," the spokesperson said.
Ressa, who also holds US citizenship, is co-founder of Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism who has faced criminal charges after stories critical of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte including his bloody drug war.
"We commend Ressa's long-standing dedication to safeguarding freedom of expression for all journalists both in the Philippines and in the world," the spokesperson said.
"Her tireless work to promote freedom of expression comes at a time when liberty of the press is increasingly under threat."