MANILA (Rappler/Asia Pacific Report/Pacific Media Watch):Rappler executive editor and CEO Maria Ressa has won a coveted press freedom award from a 70-year-old global network of news publishers seeking to uphold the rights of journalists worldwide.
Ressa received the Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in Portugal last week.
In her acceptance speech, Ressa said: “My heart breaks when I look at what our young reporters and staff have to live with – and the courage they show in the face of brute force and impunity… the respect they continue to show authorities, the nightmares they fight at night, the mission that lives inside them.
“But this award goes beyond Rappler,” she continued.
“For the Filipino journalists in the audience, please stand up. This is for all Filipino journalists just trying to do our jobs.”
The Rappler CEO also said that “the Golden Pen of Freedom also goes beyond journalists in the age of social media. So this award is also for Filipinos who are holding the line … And I want to do a special shout-out to the men and women inside the Philippine government – because your choices, every compromise you make, will determine the future of our nation,” she said.
‘Fighting for our values’
“This is for all Filipinos who continue to fight for our values – to stand for the rule of law and to defend press freedom!” added Ressa as she received the WAN-IFRA award to a standing ovation.
Founded in 1948, WAN-IFRA is an organisation whose members represent 18,000 publications across 120 countries, including the Philippines and New Zealand. Its mission is “to protect the rights of journalists around the world to operate free media.”
The Golden Pen of Freedom is WAN-IFRA’s annual award that aims “to turn the spotlight of public attention on repressive governments and journalists who fight them”.
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