MANILA, Philippines – The Washington-based National Press Club (NPC) announced on Friday, June 26, that it has selected Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa as the recipient of its international 2020 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.
The award is named after John R. Aubuchon, a Maryland Public Television reporter and former White House correspondent who was president of the NPC in 2002. The NPC usually names one journalist from the US and one international recipient of the award, given to an individual who “bravely pushes to disclose the truth in trying circumstances.”
The NPC said it will announce the domestic award honoree in the coming weeks.
Ressa is a 2020 Four Freedoms Awards laureate. She was also named a 2018 Time Person of the Year, and included in Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2019.
On June 15, Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr were convicted of cyber libel, which holds up to a maximum of 6 years inprisonment. Her conviction, the National Press Club wrote, “prompted an outcry from press freedom organizations across the world, including the National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute.”
“Make no mistake, they are looking to silence her outspoken and fearless voice, which is often in opposition to many of the restrictive and illegal policies of the government,” National Press Club President Michael Freedman and NPC Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane said in a joint statement following her conviction.
They added, “To silence the press is to silence the people, silence accountability and silence truth. Maria Ressa’s voice will not be silenced.”
The NPC will confer the 2020 Aubuchon awards later this year.
The NPC, which was founded in 1908, is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. – Rappler.com
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