Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 9)— World leaders and international organizations have congratulated Philippine journalist Maria Ressa for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize — labeling the feat as a win for press freedom globally.
In a statement on Friday (Saturday in Manila), US President Joe Biden lauded the Nobel Committee for recognizing Ressa — CEO of online news organization Rappler — and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, saying they have worked “tirelessly and fearlessly” to pursue the facts.
“They have worked to check the abuse of power, expose corruption, and demand transparency. They have been tenacious in founding independent media outlets and defending them against forces that seek their silence,” Biden said.
“Ressa, Muratov, and journalists like them all around the world are on the front lines of a global battle for the very idea of the truth, and I, along with people everywhere, am grateful for their groundbreaking work to “hold the line,” as Ressa so often says,” he added.
Human rights group Amnesty International welcomed the victory, saying it is also important for the fight for justice, accountability, and freedom of expression all around the world.
The European Union also commended Ressa for the dedication in her field despite cases lodged against her.
“Her work offers hope not only to the people in the Philippines, but across South-East Asia and the world,” the EU added.
The United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations likewise extended their congratulatory messages for the journalists.
Stop the attacks, drop the cases
Following the Nobel award, Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard called on authorities in the Philippines and Russia to stop the attacks on press freedom.
Ressa’s legal team — headed by Amal Clooney — also reiterated their call to immediately drop all outstanding cases against Ressa and Rappler.
“She has sacrificed her own freedom for the rights of journalists all over the world and I am grateful to the Nobel Committee for shining a light on her incredible courage. I hope the Philippine authorities will now stop persecuting her and other journalists and that this prize helps to protect the press around the world,” Clooney said in a statement, citing the cyber libel cases earlier filed against the veteran journalist.
Ressa is the first Filipino to receive the award and the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize this year. Her co-winner, Muratov, heads the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Some local officials and groups — including Vice President Leni Robredo, some senators, and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines — also congratulated Ressa on the award.