FULL TEXT: Glenda Gloria on Rappler's 2018 Free Media Pioneer award
MANILA, Philippines – On Friday, June 22, Rappler received the 2018 Free Media Pioneer award from the International Press Institute (IPI) during award ceremonies held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The IPI established the Free Media Pioneer award in 1996 to recognize innovation in journalism that has promoted access and quality in the news industry.
In accepting the award, managing editor Glenda M. Gloria said the honor belongs not just to Rappler and Filipino journalists, but also to "everyone all over the world who persists in doing good journalism despite being harassed, despite getting jailed, and despite their work getting hijacked by algorithms."
Below is the full text of Gloria's speech during the awarding ceremony in Nigeria:
IPI, fellow journalists, on behalf of the Rappler team, thank you very much for this honor.
Five months ago, I and my colleagues at Rappler were also onstage to speak before fellow journalists.
The big difference is, we were onstage not to accept an award, but to fight for our lives.
That evening of January 19, we joined hundreds of Filipino journalists at a press freedom rally to protest a government agency's order revoking Rappler's license to operate. That order was the culmination of a series of government attacks on Rappler and other independent media companies in the Philippines since President Duterte assumed power in 2016.
We have since appealed the order in court. As we continue to operate, the Duterte administration has been just as persistent, filing tax and libel suits against us, and banning our reporters from getting near President Duterte.
And so we can't be thankful enough for this award tonight, which belongs not just to Rappler and Filipino journalists but also to everyone all over the world doing good journalism despite being harassed, despite getting jailed, and despite their work getting hijacked by algorithms.
The Free Media Pioneer award becomes more meaningful because it recognizes not just Rappler's commitment to hold the powerful accountable, but also celebrates our innovative approach to journalism.
Like many of you here, Rappler's founding editors grew up in the analogue days. We've seen presidents and revolutions come and go without tweeting about them.
But something happened in 2011, when we quietly established Rappler on Facebook with a millennial staff.
Facebook had at the time reached global scale and social media had by then played a key role in helping people bring down oppressive governments or change unjust policies.
In that context, we established Rappler with the vision that social media is for social change. Six years later, social media would be weaponized against us by the army of trolls of President Duterte.
Yet, we know that Rappler's growth would not have been possible outside this new environment.
Technology allows us to reach more people that otherwise we would be spending millions to reach. It provides us more spaces to better connect with them. And it helps turn us into better storytellers.
We try not to lose sight of this even as we challenge how tech giants have allowed the scale, the spreadability, and the shareability of hate and propaganda.
Indeed, the new world is compelling us journalists to not merely adapt to these vast changes in our midst, but to define more clearly who we are, how we can rise above the noise and the lies, and what we can do to make things better.
In the Philippines, the current situation is somehow helping Rappler sharpen its role in this complex environment.
The thousands of deaths in the name of the drug war and the climate of fear that seeks to paralyze the democratic institutions of what used to be Asia's most vibrant democracy and freest press, give us no choice but to stand our ground.
As our esteemed guest tonight, the Nobel laureate and Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, once wrote: "The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny."
We are Rappler. And we will hold the line.
Thank you very much.