Maria Ressa wins Nobel Peace Prize
Maria Ressa has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize and a worthy winner she is. In 2017 GMT Media worked on an editorial review of Rappler, the multimedia news site she edits in The Philippines. The review found the “contents on the site’s news and information pages to be accurate, balanced and fair.” This was a remarkable achievement because Rappler was covering highly controversial and politically challenging topics at the time – most notably comprehensive coverage of President Duerte’s ‘war on drugs’ which was characterised by an indiscriminate use of violence on the part of the security forces.
President Duterte’s government openly threatened Rappler with closure and Maria herself faced imprisonment. She still faces such threats. And yet she and her colleagues remain unbowed. The review found that “High profile and controversial stories ran during the monitoring period and Rappler followed them and displayed a strong commitment to independent and responsible journalism.”
One important aspect of Rappler’s work is its determination to reach out to its audience and include them in its coverage. Indeed, the audience helps set the agenda. (Commentary Sept 9th 2017). This intrinsic bond between readers and viewers and journalists has helped Rappler stand out from the crowd and give it an authentic voice in a dangerous and intimidating environment where journalists are habitually trolled and threatened. President Duterte has presided over a culture in which critics are seen as enemies and where supporters feel empowered to intimidate and threaten anyone who dares challenge the government’s actions. But Rappler – together with its readers, viewers, social activists and contributors - provides a platform where victims can find a voice and where wrongdoing is exposed.