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Rappler's Maria Ressa Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

In honor of free press.
by Ara Eugenio
Just now
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has been nominated alongside two media organizations for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her work that champions the "free and independent press" in the the Philippines, a Norwegian lawmaker who casted it last week said. 

Joining Ressa in the nominations made by labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre are Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists, a move which he said honors journalists who report on conflict. 

"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. 


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

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"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.

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". 

How does the nomination work?

Anyone can be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. 

This year, the lineup also includes other big names such as the World Health Organization, young climate activist Greta Thunberg, and voting rights champion Stacey Abrams.

Even former U.S. President Donald Trump who is currently facing his second impeachment trial, is nominated, together with his former senior adviser Jared Kushner and deputy Avi Berkowitz . 

Nominations does not mean an endorsement from the Nobel committee, who decides the winners. But nominators can choose to reveal their picks, as Støre did with Ressa. 

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Trump's nomination came from a far-right Norwegian politican Christian Tybring-Gjedde and Kushner and Berkowitz's were casted by U.S. Lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Both cited the three's work of having negotiated a "peace deal" between Israel and United Arab Emirates.

The following are those who can file a nomination, according to the organization:

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  • Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of states
  • Members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
  • Members of l’Institut de Droit International
  • Members of the international board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  • University professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
  • Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent of organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (proposals by current members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after 1 February)
  • Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee

After nominations are made, the Norwegian Nobel Committee then commences with their screening and decision-making process that spans eight months.

They then draw a majority vote from their shortlist, after which the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony is set in Oslo, Norway in December. 

N. Elmehed

There's no limit to the nominations, and in the 50 years of the committee's refusal to disclose any information about the whole process, the public can only speculate, or hear from the nominators themselves, about how awardees were chosen. 

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