Rappler founder Maria Ressa wins Nobel Peace Prize 2021text_fields
Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, whose digital investigative media outfit has been chronicling abuses and excesses of power in the Philippines, especially in the present was on Friday conferred the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021.
Announcing the 2021 laureates, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that it chose Ressa, the founder and chief of Rappler for "courageous fight for freedom of expression", and as "representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions".
Stressing that "free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies, and war propaganda", it said it "is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help ensure an informed public" and that these rights are "crucial prerequisites for democracy and protect against war and conflict".
"The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Maria Ressa is intended to underscore the importance of protecting and defending these fundamental rights," the Committee said.
It noted that without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time, and thus, this year's Nobel Peace Prize award "is therefore firmly anchored in the provisions of Alfred Nobel's will".
The Committee said Ressa has used freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines. As a journalist and CEO of the Rappler, which she co-founded in 2012, she has "shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression".
Rappler has focused critical attention on the Rodrigo Duterte regime's "controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign", which has led to so many deaths that it "resembles a war waged against the country's own population".
Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse, it added.
Launching the "Real Over Sight Board" against Facebook's "Oversight Board", the former CNN journalist and the founder of Rappler Maria Ressa along with others openly chose to fight against misinformation spread on social media platforms including Facebook.
Ressa claimed that the board was shaped to stress Facebook into taking action on its reluctance to moderate fake information posted by political figures.
Though the platform argued that these statements should be open to public scrutiny, Ressa pressured the fact that Facebook's inaction has led to nullifying facts over fictitious ones.
Starting off as a Facebook page named MovePH, Rappler evolved to a complete website in 2012 and came quite far ever since. Facebook has been allegedly fueling misinformation about the website while she has been on the run to help Facebook with fact-checking rather than a critic.
"I could go to jail for up to six years because of these narratives that have been seeded on Facebook, because of these information operations," Ressa had said to CNN. She referred to Facebook and other social media platform as 'behaviour modification systems' and users as 'Pavlov's dogs.
Ressa had stated in a Time discussion with Britain's Prince Harry that social media attacks have progressed over the years and has led people to breathe misinformation like polluted air.
Several media had reported that she was under pressure and had been allegedly targeted in a series of legal cases listed from tax evasion to foreign ownership violations. Rappler has witnessed many situations where bolting the website had been a quite often scenario.
Freedom of expression is considered a base of any democratic society. Ressa told the BBC that journalists across the world are fighting against populist authoritarian leaders. "Journalism is activism when it is a battle for truth," she was as saying to Rest of the World.
"This is a time when anyone living in a democracy if you care about democracy, you have to sit there and answer the same question I was forced to answer four years ago, which is: What are you willing to sacrifice for the truth?"