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Catholic bishops congratulate Filipino Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa

MARIA RESSA

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Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/12/21 - updated on 10/12/21

Ressa was recognized for her reporting on the thousands of extrajudicial killings committed by the Duterte regime

The Nobel Prize Committee announced on October 8 that Filipino-American journalist Maria Ressa and Russian editor Dmitry Muratov would share this year’s prize for fighting o “safeguard freedom of expression.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) congratulated Ressa on her prize, which was the first such award to be received by a Filipino, and the first in 85 years to be awarded to a working journalist.

Ressa’s investigative reporting into the thousands of extrajudicial killings committed by President Rodrigo’s regime earned her praise from the bishops for her bravery.

In their statement the bishops also highlighted he importance of a free speech.

“We are grateful that Ms. Ressa, together with many of the distinguished and dedicated members of the fourth estate, have discerned the signs of the times and have valiantly responded and continue to respond to this particular invitation,” said the prelates, reported UCANews.com.

“This important recognition — the first for a Filipino — will hopefully strengthen our people’s conviction to build a nation where journalism is free, at the service of truth, goodness and justice.”

The Philippines has been a hostile environment for journalists since the Duterte regime came to power in 2016. Duterte has accused Ressa and her digital news outlet Rappler of being a “fake news outlet” funded by the CIA. He has also said that journalists were “sons of bitches” who should not be “exempt from assassinations.”

Last year, Ressa was convicted of cyber libel by a court in Manila, and faces between six months and six years in prison. The conviction was condemned by international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Reporters Without Borders which called the ruling “Kafkaesque.

Duterte has been silent about Ressa’s award until Monday, when his office congratulated Ressa calling it “a victory for a Filipina.”  

Duterte spokesperson Harry Roque added, however, ““Of course it is true there are individuals who feel Maria Ressa still has to clear her name before the courts.”

Tags:
Human RightsPhilippines
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