New Delhi, 11 October 2021 – The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) today congratulated Ms Maria Ressa and Mr Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov on the award of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. The two journalists represent both an extraordinary body of work as well as the hopes, aspirations, threats, abuse and daily challenges faced by countless journalists and those committed to freedom of opinion and expression across the world, it said.
“Your journalism, conducted under extremely adverse conditions of oppression, intimidation and harm inspires many journalists, young and old, worldwide. The Nobel Committee’s decision sends a powerful message that without free and courageous expression of ideas and ideals, societies and democracies are imperiled,” SAMDEN added.
The Network hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 will be a wakeup call to all stakeholders to pay urgent attention to the pressures on media and ensure the protection of media professional. At the same time, the media, intellectuals, scholars, lawyers, civil society groups and human rights defenders must continue to press for healthier information ecosystems while holding those in power to account.
“Truth-speaking, thought increasingly difficult, builds trust in democracy. It emphasizes that freedom of expression and freedom of information are vital to help an informed public to make informed decisions,” SAMDEN said.
SAMDEN, a group of more than 60 journalists from South Asia that is anchored in the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) seeks to support media workers by helping them work securely, monitoring intimidation and attacks against freedom of expression, and pressing for greater openness and accountability.
SAMDEN co-conveners include Sanjoy Hazarika, journalist, commentator and irector of CHRI; Kanak Mani Dixit, founding editor, Himal South Asian; Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star, Dhaka; Salil Tripathi, Chair, PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee; Beena Sarwar, Boston-based journalist, film maker and media teacher; and Kalpana Sharma, senior journalist and author.