The Asian American Journalists Association congratulates long-time member and leader Maria Ressa on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Dmitry Muratov. AAJA applauds Ressa for her relentless and courageous work for press freedom and combating disinformation in the Philippines and worldwide.
“The AAJA community is beyond proud and encouraged that her pioneering leadership in journalism and in championing press freedom, and the role that press freedom plays in holding governments accountable to the people they serve, have been recognized by the Nobel committee. Maria is an inspiration to journalists across the globe, and of every generation,” said Michelle Ye Hee Lee, president of AAJA.
“As the first Filipina to win the Nobel Peace Prize and first woman to be honored this year (and only 18th woman in history), Maria is making and will continue to make history. We are grateful for her example and her constant support and encouragement throughout the years as AAJA continues to train up future generations of journalists as public servants,” said Naomi Tacuyan Underwood, executive director of AAJA.
An AAJA-Asia statement expressed, “We thank the Nobel Prize committee for shining a light on freedom of expression and the role of journalists, particularly at a time when nearly all of the countries in Southeast Asia have fallen to the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index.”
The Nobel committee noted her work as a journalist and serving as co-founder/CEO of Rappler, and using “freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country,” especially combating misinformation amidst the Duterte regime’s anti-drug campaign.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, described Ressa and co-winner Dmitry Muratov as “representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”
Ressa called the prize “a global recognition of the journalist’s role in repairing, fixing our broken world,” and said “It’s never been as hard to be a journalist as it is today.”
AAJA expresses gratitude to Maria for inspiring AAPI journalists over the years. In 2019, Maria Ressa was the keynote speaker for AAJA’s annual convention gala dinner. Speaking on misinformation, “This is the battle of our generation. This battle for truth. A lie told a million times becomes a fact,” Ressa said.
At #AAJA20, AAJA’s first virtual convention, Ressa joined again as a panelist, featured in the documentary, A Thousand Cuts, produced by filmmaker and journalist Ramona Diaz. Ressa also delivered the keynote speech at AAJA-Asia’s New.Now.Next. Media Conference (N3Con 2020) in 2020.
AAJA has stood by Ressa during her arrest and conviction on cyber libel charges, and we continue to proudly support her, fellow awardee Dmitry Andreyvich Muratov, and all journalists who do the brave work of bringing the truth to their communities.