Journalists who turned into advocates of peace
Journalists have had their share of proud moments in the long history of 120 years of the Nobel Prize. The list of winners ranges from Élie Ducommun, head of the International Peace Bureau who was awarded the 1902 Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov who bagged the award in 2021. This is the seventh time that journalists have become messengers of peace.
Élie Ducommun and Charles-Albert Gobat, secretaries of the International Peace Bureau headquartered in Switzerland, won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1902.
Élie Ducommun spent more than half of his life as a magazine and newspaper editor in Geneva and Bern. His spare time, however, was spent on peace activities. He was the founder of the radical journal, Der Fortschritt. He took active part in the movement for the European Union and was the editor of the political journal, Revue de Genève and news sheet, Les États-Unis d’Europe that was founded in 1867, which was a periodical of the International League of Peace and Freedom. He became the General Secretary of the International Peace Bureau in 1981.
Ernesto Teodoro Moneta- 1907
Ernesto Teodoro Moneta was the President of the Lombard League of Peace, an Italian journalist and the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1907. He took part in an uprising against Austrian rule. His active participation in several peace discussions and private meetings to eradicate the problems between France and Italy helped him win the award. He hailed from an army family but chose the path of journalism. He also worked as an editor of II Secolo, the most-sold newspaper from 1867 to 1895
Alfred Hermann Fried- 1911
Alfred Hermann Fried was an Austrian pacifist and publicist. He founded the German Peace Society and won the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1911 with Tobias Asser. He was born in Vienna and had to move to Germany to build his career. His advocacy against wars and weapons in several journals like ‘The Peacekeeper’ and other weeklies were accepted quite well.
Norman Angell- 1933
Norman Angell was an English economist and worker for international peace. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1933 for his active involvement in the League of Nations. Angell moved to America and became a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and later on for the San Francisco Chronicle.
After that, he shifted to Paris and worked as a sub-editor of the Daily Messenger, a staff contributor to Éclair, a correspondent for American papers and eventually became the editor of the Paris edition of Daily Mail in 1905. He ended his career in 1912 and focused the rest of his time on writing and lecturing.
Carl von Ossietzky- 1935
Ossietzky was a German journalist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1935. He was a critique of Nazism and Hitler. Although he won the award in 1935, the Nazi government did not allow him to receive the award.
Ossietzky was arrested in 1932 and kept in jail for seven months by the Nazi government after accusing him of leaking information about the army. He was arrested again in 1933 and sent to a concentration camp.
Even though Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Prize during this time, the government did not permit his release from the camp and told him to decline the award. Ossietzky refused to do so. He later accepted the award after almost a year. The world sees Ossietzky as the symbol of resistance orbiting democracy.
Tawakkol Karman- 2011
Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, activist, and politician was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. She shared the award with two other laureates, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee. They won the award for their contributions to ensure the safety and rights of women and for the non-violent protests that they have led to uphold their values.
Karman is the co-founder of Women Journalists Without Chains, which produces reports on human rights abuses and attacks against the press in Yemen.
Karman has also taken part in the Arab Spring in 2011, which involved protests against ruling governments in multiple Arab countries, over which she faced arrests on multiple occasions. She is also known as the ‘The Mother of the Revolution’ and Yemen’s Iron lady.