Maria Ressa: Nobel Peace Prize 2021 for a special woman in the fight for freedom

25. October 2021 – Katharina Schlangenotto

Maria Ressa hails from the Philippines, a country where press freedom ranks 138th in the Reporters Without Borders organization’s rankings.

The German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) wrote about her: “Maria Ressa, born 58 years ago in Manila, is the courageous head of the online news portal Rappler. She became the target of a persecution campaign, including legal action, because of her criticism of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war. Ressa was also attacked on social media by Duterte’s supporters with savage insults.”

Rodrigo Duterte has been president of the Philippines since 2016. Wikipedia notes that he is known for his “jokes” uttered in public, which observers describe as distasteful or vulgar. He called Pope Francis a “son of a bitch” while serving as mayor in November 2015 because the pope would have caused traffic delays during his visit to Manila. Referring to the gang rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City in 1989, he said at a campaign rally that the victim had been beautiful and that he regretted not being let approach first as mayor. Closing the campaign, he shouted to his supporters, “Forget laws and human rights!”

Being persecuted by someone like him and his supporters is running the gauntlet. Duterte and his regime have arrested Maria Ressa several times, repeatedly pulling new cases against the determined journalist out of a hat.

Maria Ressa is rewarded for her courage

Maria Ressa dared to found the online news portal Rappler in 2012. On it, she reported unvarnished about the bloody drug war of the Philippine president. In 2018, the president simply revoked the portal’s license. Since then, it has been like a “death by a thousand steps,” according to Maria Ressa.

She previously worked for CNN for many years and is one of the Philippines’ best-known journalists. She grew up in the United States, where her parents moved when dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed a state of emergency on the country. In America, she studied at Princeton University before returning to the Philippines. In 2018, Time magazine named her a Person of the Year for her advocacy of press freedom and democracy.

That Maria Ressa has now won the Nobel Peace Prize brings her courageous work for freedom and justice more into the public eye, and that is important. The documentary film “Die Unbeugsamen” (“The indomitable”), currently available in the media library of the German TV station ARD shows the life and courageous work of Maria Ressa in her tireless struggle for freedom and justice.

Experience Maria Ressa as a stirring and impressive speaker and top speaker. A woman who absolutely has what it takes to change the world. Even at the cost of her own life.

Maria Ressa

CEO of Rappler, Journalist, Author, Winner 2021 Nobel Peace Prize