Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for their 'courageous fight for freedom of expression' in the Philippines and Russia, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday.

"Nobel Prize laureate Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines," the committee said in a statement, adding: "As a journalist and the Rappler’s CEO, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression."

Ressa in 2012 co-founded the Rappler, a digital media company for investigative journalism in the Philippines.

On Russian laureate Dmitry Muratov, the committee said he has for decades "defended freedom of speech in Russia under increasingly challenging conditions."

Muratov was one of the founders of the Novaja Gazeta in 1993, a daily known for its critical stance for Russia's political and social affairs.

"Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov has refused to abandon the newspaper’s independent policy. He has consistently defended the rights of journalists," the committee noted.

The Nobel Peace Prize is worth 10 million Swedish krona ($1.1 million).

Last year's Nobel Peace Prize had gone to the UN World Food Program for its efforts to combat hunger.

The previous year, it was awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for "efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea."

Previous winners of the award include South Africa's first Black President Nelson Mandela (1993), former US presidents Jimmy Carter (2002) and Barack Obama (2009), as well as activist Malala Yousafzai (2014), the EU (2012), the UN and its then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2001).