Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Malacañang on Tuesday maintained its stance on the awarding of Nobel Peace Prize to Filipino journalist Maria Ressa.

“The Philippines is a democratic society and every view, regardless of affiliation, must be accorded with respect,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

Roque made the remark, after the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) schooled him about censorship of Filipino journalists under the watch of President Rodrigo Duterte.

On Monday, Roque said Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize award is “not a slap” on the government’s face as “no one has ever been censored in the Philippines.”

Reacting to Roque’s statement, the NUJP on Tuesday said the Philippine press has been “under siege” for the last five years.

“As someone who once stood before the Supreme Court bench and defended the freedom of the press against the Cybercrime Prevention Act, you should know that censorship comes in many forms,” the NUJP said. “If you refuse to listen to the journalists who you used to represent, just ask your former colleagues in the human rights community.”

Roque maintained that while the Palace congratulates Maria Ressa for winning the Nobel Prize Award, it also agrees with National Artist F. Sionil’s opinion about her award.

He also backed Jose’s statement that the Philippine press is “alive”.

“Having said this, we regard F. Sionil Jose’s opinion as the better view of the state of the press freedom in the country,” Roque said.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize to Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov, citing their efforts “to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace”.

Ressa is the first Filipino recipient of the prestigious citation. She is also the first woman to receive this year’s Nobel Prize award. 

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