Philippine media

Maria Ressa, Rappler win International Documentary Association’s Truth to Power Award

Camille Elemia
Maria Ressa, Rappler win  International Documentary Association’s Truth to Power Award

AWARD. Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa receive the Truth to Power award from the International Documentary Association.

Martin San Diego

The Truth to Power award 'recognizes an individual or institution that has shown conspicuous fortitude, tenacity and resoluteness in holding those in power to account'

Rappler and its CEO Maria Ressa won the International Documentary Association’s Truth to Power Award, the IDA announced on its website on Tuesday, November 10.

The award, launched last year, “recognizes an individual or institution that has shown conspicuous fortitude, tenacity and resoluteness in holding those in power to account.”

The IDA Documentary Awards is the world’s most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre, celebrating the best nonfiction films and programs of the year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the awards will be presented in a digital ceremony in January 2021.

The recognition came following A Thousand Cuts, the documentary of award-winning filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz, which follows Rappler and its journalists as they navigate the struggles of a free press under President Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

“Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa co-founded the Philippines-based online news network Rappler that has relentlessly held the powerful to account despite unyielding pressure and threats of imprisonment. As depicted in Ramona S. Diaz’s A Thousand Cuts, Ressa and the Rappler’s journalists work illustrates the fundamental importance of a free press,” IDA said in a statement.

In a statement, IDA executive director Simon Kilmurry said of the honorees: “If we have learned anything from this tumultuous year it is the fundamental and critical importance of speaking the truth. Without that, democracies are undermined, the corrupt thrive and the marginalized are crushed.”

“All of this year’s honorees are dedicated to speaking the truth and nurturing and supporting the brave filmmakers and activists who continue to shine a light into the darkest corners. We thank them for their work,” Kilmurry added.

Rappler has faced many government-backed cases since 2016, including a cyber libel case over an article published even before the cybercrime law took effect.

Ressa and former Rappler researcher Rey Santos were convicted of cyber libel on June 15. They are appealing the decision.

A Thousand Cuts, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020, won the top prize at the 2020 Doc Edge Festival in New Zealand.

PBS investigative documentary series Frontline acquired the documentary in June. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com