“What has Ressa done for press freedom?”
When Maria Ressa received the Nobel Peace Prize, I asked myself, what did she do in the name of press freedom? Was she ever jailed in the name of press freedom? Did Ressa ever cross swords with Duterte, and most importantly, was Rappler’s website, of which Ressa is CEO, ever censored?
As a veteran journalist, I felt insulted. But I held my peace, and I never wrote anything.
When my fellow Ilocano, Frankie Sionil Jose, wrote that piece questioning Ressa’s award, I simply laughed. And then I asked myself again: Does Ressa deserve the prize?
Having been a journalist for over 70 years, I have seen history in the making, have been a part of it, and have walked the corridors of power. So what great thing did Maria Ressa do for Philippine journalism that made her deserving of the award?
Yes, Rappler often comes out with critical articles against the Duterte administration. I myself have used some of Rappler’s articles as a basis for my criticism against Duterte. I criticize Duterte when I disagree with what he does, but I also praise him when I think it is warranted. My gulay, as an opinion writer, I believe that dissent and assent are the foundation of democracy. Without these, there can only be tyranny.
Thus, when thousands started praising Ressa on Facebook and damning Frankie, calling him sour grapes, among other names, I decided I must have my say.
Frankie is my idol, and so I quote him. “The Philippine press is alive and well, not because of Maria Ressa. No writer is in jail. There is no censorship. Duterte has not closed a single newspaper or radio station. The closure of ABS-CBN was made by Congress which did not renew the ABS-CBN franchise. Sure, he influenced Congress, but the real issue against ABS-CBN as I have pointed out is not about press freedom, but money, politics, power and its abuse by the Lopezes who own the TV network. Sure journalists have been killed in the Duterte regime just as it was in the past administrations. But, those killings cannot be laid at Duterte’s door. Usually, they are made by minor politicians or officials attacked by journalists.
“The real test for journalists was during the Marcos dictatorship when he imposed censorship, closed all media and jailed journalists.
“Now let us look at Maria Ressa’s credentials. The most important is that she worked with CNN. I have not read anything memorable by her. She had developed important connections as this award has shown and was able to get foreign support for Rappler. Duterte was not serious with Maria Ressa, elso he could have jailed her like what he did Senator Leila de Lima. For sure we always have great journalists who fought Marcos, among them the late Letty Jimenez Magsanoc and Betty Go, Eggie Duran Apostol (RM awardee), Sheila Coronel (RM awardee). Marites Vitug and Che-Che Lazaro on TV. Those Nobel judges were taken for a ride by western media hype.”
Insofar as Maria Ressa’s US and western connection, I recall that she was among TIME Magazine Persons of the Year. And, Santa Banana, it’s for these reasons why my colleague, Rigoberto Tiglao, in his column, wrote that it’s the United States’ way of going against Duterte. This just goes to show that the CIA and the US government will go the extra mile against those who dare criticize its politics and act as Duterte had done.
I will surely be criticized by the “Yellows” and the Duterte haters for this piece. But, I have gone on record as having criticized Duterte. I don’t know Duterte from Adam.
Santa Banana I never realized that there are so many stupid Filipinos who cannot seem to know the difference between right and wrong. They called Jose names in his effort to let us know that Maria Ressa never did anything heroic in the name of press freedom except to criticize Duterte. Have some stupid people been blinded that much with their hate and bias against Duterte, that they would now kill the messenger for doing what it right?
These Filipino who are now cheering Ressa for that Nobel Peace Prize should find out who are funding her.
For this, I am sure, I’ll also be demonized. But I suggest people should look into the Rappler board. One of them is a woman, a newspaper columnist, who never saw anything right about Duterte.
I have nothing but praise for Jose and Tiglao for telling the truth.
In every national election, there are always nuisance candidates. Some of them have claimed to be sent by God. The fact that there are now 97 presidential candidates and 29 vice presidential candidates, and my gulay, some 176 candidates vying for the 12 Senate seats, can confuse us all!
The Comelec should, in the beginning of the period of filing of COCs, already set guidelines not to accept these nuisance candidates.There is a need for an anti-nuisance bill to reject them. My worry is that the world may think that Philippine elections is just one big joke.
Speaking of nuisance, I think Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is one.