Breaking: Maria Ressa, Duterte nemesis, wins Nobel Peace Prize

First Filipino to win  award

“A thousand cuts” doesn’t scare this fearless journalist

Editorial

Teodoro Alcuitas

Editor, PhilippineCanadianNews.Com (PCN.Com)

Maria Ressa, founder and CEO of Rappler, Inc. has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in Journalism, the first Filipino to be ever win the $1.1 cash award. Ressa shares the prize with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov .

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov shares prize with Maria Ressa.

The Nobel Peace Prize is intended to honour an individual or organization that has “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations”.

The two were given the prestigious award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday.

Ressa is the first woman awarded the prize this year.

Mysogynist

Ressa has been a thorn in the eyes of the mysogynist President Rodrigo Duterte for relentlessly exposing his so-called ‘war on drugs’. Duterte is known for his aversion to women especially those who oppose him. His foul mouth is froth with expletives and curses that demean women. His pronouncements against women is so gross and unprintable that one is left with bewilderment why this man is able to rule this long. Perhaps, this year, he will meet his match in Leni Robredo.

Among Duterte’s victims are Senator Leila De Lima, who is still in prison for unproven allegations, former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and his other nemesis, Vice-President Leni Robredo, who just announced her candidacy to run as president in next May’s election.

The CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault interviews Maria Reesa who tells Canada to “worry about fake news”. (Screen grab, CBC)

To take on Duterte is no easy feat in the current political climate in the Philippines, for to do so carries unimaginable risks.

You either end up dead or in prison.

Maria Ressa chose to cross swords with the strongman. Understandably, he recoils and strikes back – slapping Reesa and Rappler with a number of legal cases intended to cripple and silence her and the paper she leads.

Ressa has faced seven  active legal cases while there are 11 cases overall against Rappler, its directors, and staff in the 14 months since the Securities and Exchange Commission first tried to shut down Rappler.com.

Maria is interviewed by Luisa Marshall of the Vancouver-based Luisa Marshall Show in 2020. (Screen grab, Luisa Marshall)

100 years in prison

She was convicted of cyber-libel in June  2020 and is facing a prison term of six years but could be in prison for 100 years for other multiple charges.The renown international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, unsuccessfully defended Ressa’s libel case.

The Nobel Peace Prize, undoubtedly the most prestigious, is just one of a number of recognitions that the beleaguered journalist has received.

Wikepedia: Awards and recognition

Ressa has won an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, the Asian Television Awards, TOWNS – Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (Philippines) and TOYM Philippines.[74][75]

  • In 2010, Esquire proclaimed Ressa the Philippines’ “sexiest woman alive”, explaining: “Despite her size, fearless enough to write an eyewitness account of Al-Qaeda”.[76]
  • In 2015, the Philippine Movie Press Club awarded Ressa with an Excellence in Broadcasting Lifetime Achievement award at the 29th PMPC Star Awards for Television.[77]
  • In 2016, she was listed as one of the eight most influential and powerful leaders in the Philippines by Kalibrr.[78]
  • In November 2017, Ressa, as the CEO of news organization Rappler, accepted the 2017 Democracy Award awarded by the National Democratic Institute to three organizations at its annual Democracy Award Dinner in Washington, D.C., entitled “Disinformation vs. Democracy: Fighting for Facts”.[79]
  • In May 2018, Ressa received the Knight International Journalism Awards, where she was described as “an intrepid editor and media innovator who holds a spotlight to the Philippine government’s bloody war on drugs.”[80]
  • In June 2018, Ressa became the recipient of the World Association of Newspapers‘s Golden Pen of Freedom Award for her work with Rappler.[81]
  • In November 2018, the Committee to Protect Journalists awarded Ressa with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award in “recognition of her journalistic courage in the face of persistent official harassment.”[82]
  • In December 2018, she was included in Time‘s Person of the Year 2018, as one of “The Guardians”, a number of journalists from around the world combating the “War on Truth”.[83][84] Ressa is the second Filipino to receive the title after former President Corazon Aquino in 1986.
  • In April 2019, she was included in Time‘s 100 Most Influential People in the World.[85]
  • In May 2019, Ressa won the Columbia Journalism Award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, the school’s highest honor, “for the depth and quality of her work, as well as her courage and persistence in the field.”[86]
  • In June 2019, Ressa received the Canadian Journalism Foundation‘s Tribute honour, which recognizes a journalist who has made an impact on the international stage.[87]
  • In October 2019, Ressa was named on the BBC’s list of 100 Women.[88]
  • In April 2021, Ressa won the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.[89]

 

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