DHARMSHALA: The Dalai Lama on Saturday hailed Nobel Peace Prize winners Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, both journalists, for standing up to autocratic forces in their countries under challenging conditions.
Ressa and Muratov were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize by the Sweden-based foundation on Friday.
The Dalai Lama said he was happy to learn that this year's prize had been given to the two journalists for their efforts to defend freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the Philippines and Russia.
He said the Nobel Committee has honoured these two as representatives of journalists everywhere, who put themselves at risk in standing up for this ideal under challenging conditions.
"Journalists have a key role to play in promoting human values and a sense of social and religious harmony," he said, adding that he greatly admires the courage of both the journalists.
"Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are crucial to our being able to promote harmony and friendship between nations, disarmament and a more peaceful world order," the spiritual leader said.
Ressa, a Filipino journalist, has been working for years to expose abuse of power and corruption in her country, especially under the current Duterte regime known for its brutal anti-drug crusade.
In 2012, she founded Rappler, a digital media investigative portal, which she still heads.
Muratov became one of the founders of Novaja Gazeta in 1993 and has been its editor since 1995.
Over the years, Muratov has worked to expose corruption, police abuse, "troll factories", unlawful arrests and electoral frauds in Russia.