The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to two Filipino and Russian journalists who risked their lives to tell the truth.
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who has been accused of human rights violations, praised Maria Ressa for her work as a journalist. For this reason, some are questioning whether she is deserving of the award.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin also congratulated his countryman Svetlana Aleksiyevich for being awarded with the prestigious prize.
The Peace Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which chooses its recipient on the basis of his or her specific contribution to world peace. The committee has been criticized in recent years for selecting unworthy recipients such as US President Barack Obama and Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.
This year’s award was given to two people who have fought for freedom of expression, civil society and democracy. Maria Ressa is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Rappler, which has been facing increasing difficulties due to President Duterte’s war on drugs. Svetlana Aleksiyevich has written several books about Stalinist Russia that have played an important role in exposing the crimes of the Soviet dictator. On a number of occasions, Duterte has called Rappler a fake news outlet while he has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin on several occasions despite evidence that Russia interfered in America’s 2016 presidential elections against Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
In regard to Ressa, Duterte told reporters I was surprised but other people who know her were not surprised at all, adding I mean, you cannot be fake if you win the Noble Peace Prize.
Maria Ressa is a respected journalist who had first-hand experience of Duterte’s war on drugs. Since she was one of the early victims of fake news, it could be said that she was instrumental in exposing Duterte’s war on drugs for what it really was. Duterte had ordered his online trolls to attack Rappler and its journalists who were accused of being part of the opposition simply because they sought to report on stories that others did not. Ressa published an open letter describing the harassment she and her colleagues suffered as a result of the president’s hate campaign against Rappler.
Since Ressa was aware of the situation that Duterte has created, it could be said that she deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize for exposing how Duterte had turned the Philippines into a terrorist state by creating his own version of ISIS. Her award is recognition of Rappler’s brave stance against Duterte’s war on drugs and its efforts in exposing his crimes against humanity.
Svetlana Aleksiyevich won the prize for her book, Second-hand Time: The Demise of the Red in Russia. She has written books about Stalin’s crimes and she is a brave soul who has risked everything to expose the truth about what happened in Soviet Russia. She was denounced by the Soviet Union for writing about Stalin’s crimes while being accused of being anti-Semitic. She was forced into exile in the 1980s since she wrote damning accounts of life under communism.