In 1935, the German journalist Carl von Ossietzky received the Nobel Peace Prize. Was exposed with his criticism of the dictatorship of the National Socialists and their plans for war and was arrested in 1933. He was not allowed to travel to the award ceremony; he died in Berlin in 1938 after years of torture and imprisonment. For the first time since 1935, journalists are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize again, this time to two winners. To Dmitri Murátov, editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, critical of the government, whose editorial team has lost several journalists to murder, and María Ressa, director of Rappler, an online platform for investigative journalism, which criticizes the politics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She was found guilty of defamation in June 2020, but is currently out on bail.
It is worth mentioning that the delivery of the Nobel prize for two people on December 10 is a symbolic act, one that emphasizes the importance of press freedom and encourages journalists worldwide. The laureate Murátov had already stated that the award was not his, that he shared the honor with his co-workers, but, above all, that it was the award of those who died while carrying out their journalistic activities. However, due to regulations, the award cannot be awarded posthumously, prompting Muratov to make this statement.
The president of the Nobel Prize Committee said that journalists would be honored for their “efforts to defend freedom of expression, which is a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace.” So the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee sends a positive signal to journalists around the world and is a reminder that journalism can sometimes be very dangerous.
Journalists in Latin America are also repeatedly faced with this sad reality. Mexico holds a bitter world record with eight journalists killed in 2020, according to the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders (Rsf). International observers also rate Honduras as one of the Latin American countries where press work is riskier. Last year there were four cases of journalists murdered in Honduras, according to the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA).
Freedom of the press is linked to freedom of expression for all. The fundamental right to freedom of expression is upheld in freedom of information and press work, which means that, in this dualism of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, a strong and independent press always benefits all citizens.
A principle of democracy is the division of state power into legislative, executive and judicial powers, but, unofficially, the fourth power, the press, also has a function key. The fourth estate must independently shape public discourse, provide reliable, serious, and self-determined information about the activities of the other three state powers. The French philosopher of the Enlightenment Jean Jacques Rousseau has already called the press the “fourth pillar” of the state. The importance of press work for a functioning democracy and peaceful coexistence A good sign for journalists and media around the world is now confirmed with the delivery of the Nobel prize in 2021., including Honduras!
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A Nobel Prize for the fourth estate – Diario El Heraldo