The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has congratulated veteran journalist Maria Ressa on being the first Filipino to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Source: UCA News.
The Nobel Prize Committee announced on Friday that Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov would share this year’s prize for their “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.
Congratulating 58-year-old Ressa on Sunday, the Philippine bishops highlighted the importance of press freedom in the Catholic faith.
“Recent popes have, on occasion, highlighted the important role that the press plays in gauging the health of a healthy democratic society,” CBCP president Archbishop Romullo Valles said in the message.
“For journalists, their work has become more and more difficult because of the level of disinformation and fake news that continue to spread through social communications.
“The vocation and mission, therefore, of members of the press (as envisioned by our popes) is to contribute not only for the search for truth but, more importantly, to help build a culture of dialogue.”
The prelates praised Ressa for her bravery in responding to modern challenges in journalism, particularly in social media.
“We are grateful that Ms Ressa, together with many of the distinguished and dedicated members of the fourth estate, have discerned the signs of the times and have valiantly responded and continue to respond to this particular invitation,” the prelates said.
Ressa, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, is facing several criminal charges for investigating the controversial policy and his alleged use of “paid trolls” to smear his critics on social media.
Bishops congratulate first Filipino Nobel peace laureate (By Joseph Peter Calleja, UCA News)