(New York, NY) — The free expression and writers’ organization PEN America today welcomed the news that journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel issued the following statement:

“This is the first time in its history that the Nobel Committee has so explicitly recognized the global freedom to write and those who risk their freedom and safety to uphold it. This timely honor comes at a moment when that liberty faces unparalleled menace. And they got it exactly right: Free expression and the freedom to write are prerequisites for peace and democracy. Like so many journalists and writers whom PEN America defends, Maria and Dmitry put their lives and the lives of their families on the line every day to unmask truths, uplift facts, and hold the powerful to account. Both have exposed corruption and graft—and for that work they have been threatened, harassed, and maligned. Maria in particular has been slapped with criminal charges and death threats, but through it all she’s maintained a composure and humor that belies unparalleled bravery, while also speaking out in the defense of other journalists. Dmitry has suffered the murder of close colleagues yet soldiered on to keep their work and legacies alive.

“Courage is a word that we don’t use lightly. This week, as we marked the 15th anniversary of the murder of Dmitry’s colleague Anna Politkovskaya, we are reminded of the extraordinary courage it takes to insist on transparency in the face of encroaching global authoritarianism. To be a journalist in Russia, the Philippines, and a growing number of other countries is to place one’s life in unmitigated peril. The long arm of authoritarianism reaching across borders and even into free societies means that no matter where they go, those who seek to do them harm may be hiding in the shadows. Safe harbor is difficult to come by, and yet Maria and Dmitry know that without the work they and countless others do, darkness would settle with corruption and brutality shrouded in impenetrable secrecy. We’re proud to see Dmitry and Maria recognized for their peerless work in defending the freedom to write.”

PEN America has long rallied to the defense of Maria Ressa, condemning the onslaught of threats and criminal charges that she continues to fight against tirelessly. PEN America has supported Dmitry Muratov and other independent journalists in Russia, where the government has cracked down on the independent press.

PEN America and its 7,500 Members support and defend the freedom to write. This week, the organization honored three imprisoned Iranian journalists with its annual PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award. The PEN America Freedom to Write Index each year documents the number of imprisoned writers globally, and our searchable Writers at Risk Database tracks imperiled journalists and writers worldwide.