The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said that Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize award should put into focus the global struggle for truth.
“We hope this award will shine more light on those who put the spotlight on the truth at a time when basic freedoms and democracy are under attack,” the NUJP said in a statement on Friday, October 8.
Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 on Friday in recognition of the role of a free press in modern times.
Ressa is the first Filipino recipient of the prestigious award, and the first woman so far in this year’s roster of laureates.
“This prize is not only a recognition of their work but of the importance of freedom of the press and of expression in their countries and throughout the world,” said the NUJP.
Ressa has been convicted of cyber libel, and has been barred from traveling abroad as she appeals her conviction. She continues to face seven other active court cases rooting from the government’s shutdown of Rappler because of its Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs).
Under President Rodrigo Duterte, 20 journalists have been killed, four have been detained including Ressa who had to spend overnight in detention even though libel is a bailable offense.
One is student journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio who has been in jail for one year and eight months over charges of illegal possession of firearms, which the NUJP slams as trumped up and meant to harass human rights defenders.
The other one is NUJP national director Lady Ann Salem who was detained on the same charges as Cumpio for three months until she was freed by a local judge, who then had to suffer red-tagging for her decision.
“We commend them for defending these freedoms in increasingly challenging conditions — in Ressa’s case, these challenging conditions have included a raft of cases and legal proceedings — and are proud to be in the community of independent journalists ready to hold the line with them,” said the NUJP.
The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Philippines said Ressa’s Nobel win is a “vindication for many Filipino journalists who have been subjected to relentless attacks – those who have been harassed, red-tagged, slapped with libel and cyberlibel charges, arrested and killed.” – Rappler.com