The government of the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, today congratulated journalist Maria Ressa, one of the main voices critical of the Manila regime, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
After several days of silence on the matter, Harry Roque, spokesman for the head of state, called the fact that the reporter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a “victory”.
This is the first time a Filipino citizen has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maria Ressa, 58, shares with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov the award awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee which highlighted their efforts “to safeguard freedom of expression which is a prerequisite for democracy and lasting peace”.
On the other hand, the Philippine government spokesman stated that “press freedom is alive” in the country, stressing that President Duterte “has not ordered the closure” of media, despite the fact that the license has not been renewed. of the ABS-CBN channel.
“No one has been censored in the Philippines” said Harry Roque, adding that Maria Ressa will have “yet to wash her name in court”.
“We will let the courts decide,” said Duterte’s spokesman.
Journalist Maria Ressa is responsible for a major journalistic investigation into the controversial “war on drugs” initiated by Duterte since he came to power in 2016, and faces seven lawsuits in the Philippines.
The news portal founded by Maria Ressa in 2012, entitled Rappler, has been repeatedly threatened with closure by the Manila authorities.
The government campaign ordered by the head of state against drug use and trafficking in the Philippines is responsible for thousands of deaths, victims of police operations and alleged extrajudicial executions, which are being investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against the humanity.
Ressa also showed strong resistance against “false news” and disinformation campaigns through cons associated with the regime on social networks such as Facebook.
The Nobel Committee recognized Maria Ressa’s “defence for freedom of expression” and the struggle against “the abuse of power, the use of violence and the growing authoritarianism in the Philippines”.
“Sometimes I joke and say that I could really thank President Duterte for many things. It forced me to define more lines and cling to my values and ideas; it forced Rappler to be more idealistic, better, faster and driven by goals . I hope we are stronger,” said Ressa after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.