Filipino journalist Maria Ressa has been repeatedly criticized by the state for alleged defamation. Now the Duterte government congratulated her on the Nobel Prize.
Manila – After the journalist Maria Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the government of the Philippines congratulated the investigative reporter: “We congratulate Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize,” said a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte and interpreted: “The freedom of the press is alive, and the Nobel Prize for Maria Ressa is the proof.”
The 58-year-old journalist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with the Russian reporter Dmitrij Muratow, because both have campaigned for freedom of the press for years – in Ressa’s case, the way the Philippine government deals with the journalist’s work also plays a role. Because she is considered a sharp critic of President Duterte and his controversial and brutal “war on drugs”, she was repeatedly attacked and portrayed as a disseminator of false news.
Journalism in the Philippines: Nobel Prize for Ressa as a reward for dangerous work
Philippine journalists’ associations and human rights organizations had previously described the award for Ressa as a “triumph”. The Philippines are considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. The country ranks 138th out of 180 on the Freedom of the Press ranking by Reporters Without Borders.
The reporter has faced repeated threats, arrests and charges throughout her career. There were also several attempts to declare the online medium Rappler, which she co-founded, to be illegal. Most recently, she was sentenced to six years in prison in the Philippines in a libel trial and is only released thanks to an appeal and bail.
Philippine Government: Spokesman congratulates Ressa on Nobel Prize and describes her as a “criminal”
Duterte spokesman Harry Roque also recalled while congratulating the government that there are people “who have the feeling that Maria Ressa has to clear their name before our courts” that Ressa is after all “a convicted criminal”. When asked whether the award of the award to Ressa should be understood as a reproach for the president, his spokesman Roque said: “Certainly not. This is not a reproach to the government because, as everyone knows, nobody is censored in the Philippines. “
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to Ressa and the Russian journalist Dmitrij Muratow, editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-critical newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”. With the award of the two media representatives, the importance of the protection of freedom of expression and freedom of the press for democracy and peace should be underlined, it was said to justify.
Nobel Prize for Freedom of the Press: Doubtful Congratulations to Ressa and Muratov
Above all, both were honored on behalf of all journalists who defend freedom of the press and democratic values because they work in extremely difficult and even dangerous circumstances in their countries of origin. The government in Russia has already publicly congratulated one of its sharpest critics. (ska / dpa)
Headline list image: © Isaac Lawrence / AFP