“The Court of Appeals in the Philippines has found Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Rey Santos Jr guilty in a libel suit. The conviction is based on Maria Ressa´s criticism on how power is used and sometimes abused in the Philippines. The criticism voiced through Rappler is well within the freedom of expression in a democratic society. I am gravely concerned that Maria Ressa is being prosecuted for exercising her rights of expression”, says chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Berit Reiss-Andersen.
Maria Ressa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 for her efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.
“Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines. As a journalist and the Rappler’s CEO, Ressa has shown herself to be a fearless defender of freedom of expression.”, says Berit Reiss-Andersen
The chair adds that The Norwegian Nobel Committee is convinced that freedom of expression and freedom of information help to ensure an informed public.
“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. This conviction of cyber libel underlines the importance of a free, independent and fact-based journalism, which serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda”, says Berit Reiss-Andersen.