Two journalists who have exposed human-rights abuses win the Nobel peace prize

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he nobel peace prize has not had the greatest few years. In 2019, to great fanfare, it was given to Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, for his role in bringing about a peace deal with Eritrea, Ethiopia’s tiny neighbour. It was hailed as a landmark for the country. “We must plant seeds of love, forgiveness and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens”, said Mr Abiy, that December, in his lecture on receiving the prize. Sadly, Mr Abiy’s seed-planting phase did not last very long. Last year, disaffected soldiers in Tigray, a northern region of the country with a long history of controlling Ethiopia, rebelled. Mr Abiy launched a brutal police action in retaliation. Last month, the prime minister and Nobel laureate toured the battlefield in what has become a new Ethiopian civil war, promising to use rebels as “target practice.”

The Nobel peace prize committee has been embarrassed before. Henry Kissinger won in 1973—while the United States, following his strategy, was carpet-bombing Cambodia. Among the bookies’ favourites this year were Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage environmentalist; the World Health Organisation, for its work in helping to get the world vaccinated; and Alexei Navalny, an imprisoned Russian dissident who last year was poisoned with novichok, a nerve agent, and almost died. Instead the gongs have gone to two journalists: Dmitry Muratov, who edits Novaya Gazeta, a liberal Russian newspaper; and Maria Ressa, a former CNN anchor who founded and is the chief executive of Rappler, a website critical of the Philippine government.

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