Filipino investigative journalist to receive UN press freedom award |
For more than three decades, Ms. Ressa has been involved in numerous initiatives to promote freedom of the press and currently manages the online outlet, Rappler. However, her work has also made her a target of attack and abuse, UNESCO – the UN agency tasked with defending press freedom – said in a press release.
Ms. Ressa was chosen for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals.
“Maria Ressa’s infallible fight for freedom of expression is an example for many journalists around the world. His case is emblematic of global trends that represent a real threat to press freedom, and therefore to democracy,” said Marilu Mastrogiovanni, President of the Prize’s international jury and Italian investigative journalist.
The awards ceremony will take place on May 2 in Windhoek, Namibia during the World Press Freedom Day Conference. It will be broadcast online.
According to UNESCO, Ms Ressa was arrested for “alleged crimes related to the exercise of her profession” and was the subject of a sustained campaign of online gender-based abuse, threats and harassment , which at one point earned him an average of more than 90 hateful posts per hour on Facebook.
A former senior investigative reporter for Asia at CNN and head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, Ms Ressa was also among a group of journalists named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2018.
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
The UNESCO Press Freedom Prize is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, the Colombian journalist assassinated outside the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 17, 1986.
The $25,000 prize recognizes outstanding contributions to defending or promoting freedom of the press, especially in the face of danger.
It is funded by the Guillermo Cano Isaza Foundation (Colombia), the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland) and the Namibia Media Trust.
Information as a public good
Organized by UNESCO and the Government of Namibia, the World Press Freedom Day 2021 Conference will be held from April 29 to May 3 under the theme of Information as a Public Good and will focus on topics such as the transparency of online platforms and the importance of media and information literacy.
The conference will also discuss ways to promote and support independent media struggling to survive a crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when national and local media everywhere are facing financial instability and… other pressures threatening their survival and the employment of their journalists.