Malacaῆang congratulated on Monday (Oct. 11) veteran journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa for winning the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Ressa, whom the Nobel committee described as “fearless defender of freedom of expression,” shared the award with Dmitry Andreyevich Muratov who has also “defended freedom of speech in Russia” for decades.
“Binabati natin si Maria Ressa bilang kauna-unahang Pilipino na nagwagi sa Nobel Peace Prize,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in his Monday briefing.
“It’s a victory for a Filipina and we’re very happy for that kasi wala naman pong utak talangka dito sa Malacañang,” Roque added.
The Palace statement came more than two days after the announcement which recognized Ressa’s use of “freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism.”
‘Not a slap’
The presidential spokesperson said “press freedom is alive” in the country since there are no censored media outlets, adding that the Nobel award “is not a slap on the government.”
“It was made by private individuals in Norway. We respect their decision but as I said, criminal liability of Maria Ressa remains pending in our courts and we leave it to our courts to decide on her fate,” he said.
“You cannot blame Congress for not renewing the franchise of ABS-CBN because that is one of their powers. That is not an order emanating from the Executive nor is it a matter within the jurisdiction of the Executive,” he added.
Malacaῆang said it also joins national artist F. Sionil Jose in his recent statement saying that “there is no censorship” and that no newspaper or radio station was ordered closed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Meanwhile, the White House congratulated Ressa and Muratov in a statement dated Oct. 8 “for the much-deserved honor.”
“Ressa, Muratov, and journalists like them all around the world are on the front lines of a global battle for the very idea of the truth, and I, along with people everywhere, am grateful for their groundbreaking work to ‘hold the line,’ as Ressa so often says,” US President Joe Biden said.