Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov last week won the Nobel Peace Prize for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder. Ressa founded a news website in the Philippines, where 17 media workers have been reported killed in the last decade. Muratov, help found and still edits an independent newspaper in Russia, where 23 journalists have been killed. “Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” said the head of the Peace Prize committee.
Class discussion: What does this year’s Peace Prize say about freedom in Russia and the Philippines? Why do autocratic leaders often attack the media? Are independent journalists needed to keep a free society? Why or why not? Prize winner Ressa described her efforts as “a battle for facts.” How can you tell if the reports you read or see are based on facts? Do you trust the reports you find on social media outlets? What news sources do you trust? What sources don’t you trust? Do you trust political leaders to always tell the truth? Should their statements be regularly fact-checked by reporters?