First Filipino Nobel laureate . . .
Last Friday, Maria Ressa, CEO of Filipino news outlet Rappler, won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression” in the Philippines and Russia. In addition to being the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize this year, Ressa is also the first Filipino individual to be awarded the prestigious honour. In response to her win, Rappler released a statement noting that the prize “could not have come at a better time … when journalists and the truth are being attacked and undermined.” Ressa herself has shared hopes that the award will re-energize Filipino journalists to continue fighting for facts and the truth.
Safeguarding the truth in the Philippines . . .
Ressa’s win has again spotlighted the ongoing court cases against her and Rappler, which have been targeted for critical reporting of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and the ongoing drug war. In August, a Philippine court dismissed a cyber-libel case against Ressa, leaving seven active cases pending in court. Despite her ongoing court battles, Ressa received belated congratulations from the Duterte administration on Monday, who called her win “a victory for a Filipina,” while also noting the need to clear her name. Overall, the Nobel Prize win has highlighted the continuous struggle of journalists to shed light on the administration’s human rights abuses and attacks on journalism, such as the closure of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast network, last year.
Prize comes during period of political change . . .
Ressa’s win is set against the background of political change in the Philippines, as the country readies itself for elections in May 2022. A few days prior to the prize announcement, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, declared his intention to run for president. Following Marcos came the announcement from Leni Robredo, current Vice President and the key opposition figure to Duterte. Robredo has said she is running as an independent candidate, though she remains the current chairperson for the Liberal Party. The deadline for candidates to file their certificate of candidacy came on the same day as the Nobel Prize announcement. Once submitted, candidates may change or withdraw their candidacy until November 15, posing the potential for further changes in the pool of presidential candidates.
- Guardian: ‘A triumph of truth over lies’: joy in the Philippines over Maria Ressa’s Nobel prize win
- Norwegian Nobel Committee: The Nobel Peace Prize 2021
- Rappler: Rappler’s Maria Ressa, Dmitry Muratov win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize