Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa’s winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for militantly protecting freedom of expression is a singular achievement of a Filipino even as it is another black mark on President Rodrigo Duterte who has been demonizing and derogating press freedom.
Ressa won the prestigious international award jointly with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Ressa and Rappler have been ceaselessly reporting on Duterte’s horrific war on drugs and ineffectual governance like his anemic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
At Duterte’s behest, directly or indirectly, Ressa is facing at least seven active court cases, one of which is a prosecution for cyber libel for which she has been unwarrantedly convicted together with a former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. The conviction is on appeal.
It will be recalled that the Reporters Without Borders, also a nominee for the award, named Duterte among the 31 world leaders in the gallery of “Press Freedom Predators”.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN