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Like so many of Maria Ressa's former CNN colleagues, I have followed her career with admiration and with more than a little concern for her safety. The indomitable journalist has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was asked, shortly before being sworn in, what he would do about the high murder rate of journalists, and declared, "Just because you're a journalist you're not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a b*tch", I shuddered for one of the most courageous journalists I've ever known. But she kept on.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘In the face of multiple threats, criminal charges and two arrests, Maria Ressa has continued to speak out.’ Maria Ressa is escorted by police after posting bail. Photograph: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

For the first time, a Filipino person, Maria Ressa, has been awarded the Nobel peace prize – “a win for Filipinos, for journalists, and for the global fight to uphold press freedom,” as her colleague Lian Buan puts it.

Ressa, the co-founder and chief executive of the news site Rappler, shares the prize with the Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov in recognition of their individual activism and relentless fights for press freedom. She is a symbol of courage in light of the human rights situation in the Philippines. Since the president, Rodrigo Duterte, took office in 2016, even residents with no link to drugs have been touched by the thousands of extrajudicial killings that have taken place.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rappler chief executive and executive editor Maria Ressa during a news conference in Manila on Monday. (Aaron Favila/AP)

On Monday, a court in Manila convicted Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa of something called “cyber libel.” Her case will have severe ramifications for press freedom not only in South Asia but around the world.

“Today a court in the Philippines became complicit in a sinister action to silence a journalist for exposing corruption and abuse,” Amal Clooney, Ressa’s London-based lawyer, said in a statement with co-counsel Caoilfhionn Gallagher. “This conviction is an affront to the rule of law, a stark warning to the press, and a blow to democracy in the Philippines.”

Clooney also called on the U.S. government to “take action to protect their citizen and the values of their Constitution.”…  Seguir leyendo »

A protester covered his mouth with tape on Wednesday during a protest for press freedom in Manila. (Rolex dela Pena/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has never gotten along with the press. Three media companies have incurred his particular ire: the ABS-CBN television and radio network, the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper, and the news website Rappler. At one time or another, each has offended Duterte by reporting on his ongoing drug war, his personal finances, or even his personal history. He has denounced all three outlets during his trademark vitriolic speeches.

On January 11, the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission issued a decision, declaring that Rappler had violated the Philippine Constitution’s requirement of 100 percent Filipino ownership for media companies.…  Seguir leyendo »