Maria Ressa receives Columbia Journalism Award_
‘Please don’t accept the world as you see it today’
MANILA, Philippines – Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa received the 2019 Columbia Journalism Award on Thursday morning, May 23 (Manila time), at the Columbia Journalism School in New York City.
Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll presented the university’s highest honor to Ressa during the graduation ceremony of the school’s class of 2019. The recipient of the award is voted on by the faculty “for singular journalistic performance in the public interest.”
Coll said Ressa was recognized by the school’s faculty for “the depth and quality” of her work as well as her “courage and persistence in the field.”
“She’s needed this courage because the Duterte regime in the Philippines has filed something like a dozen cases against her organization and she continues to publish and to push into all of the places where journalism is desperately needed to illuminate both the causes of violence and the sources of disinformation, not just there but across Asia,” Coll said.
Ressa was also the keynote speaker of the graduation ceremony. In introducing her to the graduating class of 2019, Coll said Ressa, has been honored around the world for her “courage in fighting disinformation and for her unwillingness to be silenced under pressure.”
Ressa is facing a string of cases in the Philippines as the Duterte administration slams Rappler for its critical coverage. The Philippine government has filed 11 cases against Ressa, Rappler, and its reporters in a span of 14 months. Ressa has since posted bail 8 times and has been arrested twice.
In her keynote speech, Ressa urged the class of 2019 to have courage when battling for the truth.
“You are graduating at this crucial moment in history when journalists all around the world are under attack because we hold the line. Because we live our mission. Because as Time magazine wrote, we are the guardians of truth,” Ressa said.
“The battle for truth – this is at the heart of protecting our democracies…. Please don’t accept the world as you see it today. Our information ecosystem is broken. A virus has been unleashed in this global body politik and it is slowly killing us. I wish you the courage to lead the way in finding a global solution,” she added.