The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines congratulates journalist Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Her win is a victory for press freedom advocates across the Philippines, which remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.
Ressa, co-founder and CEO of news site Rappler, has faced several cases and arrest warrants in what government critics see as politically motivated charges for critical coverage of president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. She has also been vocal about how social media giants, Facebook in particular, have enabled the spread of disinformation and hate toward the press.
Apart from the attacks against Ressa and her company, the country’s largest broadcast network ABS-CBN was taken off air last year.
Reporters routinely face online harassment, local newsrooms face pressure to self-censor, and regional journalists remain the most vulnerable to violence, including detention and killings.
We hope that Ressa’s win drives international attention to the plight of the Philippines’ local media workers, and sends a signal that a free, unstifled and critical press is necessary for a healthy democracy.