Veteran Philippine journalist Maria Rasa said on Saturday that her Nobel Peace Prize was for “all journalists around the world” as she vowed to continue her fight for press freedom.
Rasa, co-founder of the news website rapper, and there was Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov The award was presented on Friday for his efforts to “protect freedom of expression”.
“It really is for all the journalists around the world,” said Ressa, an outspoken critic of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We need help on many fronts – being a journalist today is much more difficult and dangerous.”
Philippine press groups and rights activists hailed Ranka’s award as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists as a “win”.
Since Duterte came to power in 2016, Ressa and Rappler have followed what media advocates say has been a grinding series of criminal charges, investigations and online attacks.
Duterte has called the rapper a “fake news outlet”, and Ressa has been the target of abusive messages online.
Resa, 58, said he hopes the award will provide him and other journalists in the Philippines a protective shield against physical attacks and online threats.
“This ‘we against them’ was never the creation of journalists, it was the creation of people in power who wanted to use a kind of leadership that divides society,” Resa said, describing the award as “adrenaline.” of like a shot”.
“I hope … this will allow journalists to do their jobs well without any fear.”
Ressa has been a staunch critic of Duterte and his government’s policies, including the drug war, which rights groups estimate has killed tens of thousands of poor men.
The rapper was among domestic and foreign media outlets that published shocking photos of the killings and questioned its legal basis.
Judges of the International Criminal Court have authorized a full investigation into a possible crime against humanity during the bloody campaign.
Other media outlets, including the Philippine Daily Inquirer and broadcasting giant ABS-CBN, have blamed Duterte, who lost his free-to-air license last year.
But Ressa said the rapper’s independence means he can fight back. “We don’t have any other business to defend … so it’s very easy for us to retreat,” she said.
Rasa said she had been issued 10 arrest warrants in less than two years and still faced seven court cases, including tax evasion, which she described as “ridiculous” and would win.
He is out on bail pending an appeal against a conviction in a cyber defamation case last year, for which he faces up to six years in prison.
Two other cyber libel cases were dismissed earlier this year.
She said, “If I let my emotions and the fear in my head overpower my reaction, an abuse of power would have worked – the biggest challenge was always to conquer my fear.”
“Being fearless doesn’t mean being afraid, it just means knowing how to handle your fears.”
The author of “How to Stand Up to a Dictator” hopes to get permission to travel to Norway to collect the Nobel Prize.
‘Fight for the facts’
The Philippine election season, which began this month with candidates registering for more than 18,000 positions from president to city councillor, will be a “critical one” for the country, with Resa calling it a “survival moment”.
Voters will elect Duterte’s successor in May, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second six-year term.
The poll shows Duterte’s daughter Sarah and former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ son and name among the front runners for the top post. Sarah denies plans to run.
“It’s going to be a battle of facts,” Resa said, warning the spread of propaganda on social media platforms could threaten the “integrity” of the election.
Filipinos are among the world’s heaviest users of social media, and the country has become a major battleground for fake news.
Throughout the campaign against him, Resa, who is also a US citizen, lives in the Philippines and continues to speak out against Duterte’s government despite the risks.
“I joke all the time and sometimes say I should really thank President Duterte because you don’t really know who you are until you’re forced to fight for it,” Ressa said.
“I know who I am now.”