Filipino investigative journalist to receive UN press freedom prize

UNESCO selects Maria Ressa of Filipino news portal, Rappler for the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize following the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals, the UN agency tasked with defending press freedom – said in a news release.

The award ceremony took place in Windhoek, Namibia, during the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference. It will be streamed online.

Ressa has been involved in many initiatives to promote press freedom despite being targeted to attacks and abuse. She was the former lead investigative journalist for Asia at CNN and head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. Ressa was also among a group of journalists named as Time Magazine’s person of the year in 2018.

According to UNESCO, Ms. Ressa has been arrested for “alleged crimes related to the exercise of her profession”, and has been subject to a sustained campaign of gendered online abuse, threats and harassment, which at one point, resulted in her receiving an average of over 90 hateful messages an hour on Facebook.