Maria Ressa Wins Nobel Peace Prize for Advancing Press Freedom

First Filipino to win the prize.
Photo/s: Jerome Ascaño

(UPDATE) Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work that champions press freedom, the organization that hands out the prize said Friday.

Ressa and her team have reported at length on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, earning them many critics among the chief executive's supporters.

Past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize include former U.S. President Barack Obama, South African civil rights icon Nelson Mandela and Afghanistan's symbol of equality for women Malala Yousafzai.

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Together with Russian jounalist Dmitry Muratov, Norwegian Nobel Committee bestowed Ressa the award for her efforts  "to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace", it said.

She had been nominated in February by Norwegian lawmaker and labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre.

"Facts and truth are put under pressure - also through the spread of social media. This in itself is conflict-promoting. It is crucial to recognize the work of a free and independent press and to help ensure the working conditions of journalists in conflict areas, both inside and outside armed conflicts," the member of parliament said before. 

Addressing Ressa, Støre said the former CNN journalist is "both a symbol and a representative of thousands of journalists around the world". 

"Ressa has been harassed, persecuted and arrested numerous times due to her coverage of corruption, especially about business people linked to President Rodrigo Duterte. Ressa has for years lived with death threats and harassment on social media," he said.

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Ressa is currently on sabbatical from Rappler , a decision she made last year so she could "assume a more active role in the global networks fighting disinformation". 

Early this year, UN's cultural agency also awarded the veteran journalist its annual press freedom prize.


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