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“We need to protect our rights,” Maria Ressa urges journalists to defend their rights

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On Wednesday, Maria Ressa, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, urged fellow journalists to defend their rights in order to avoid losing them to “authoritarian-style leaders and budding dictators.”

Ressa spoke to reporters as she awaited her arrival at Oslo’s airport ahead of Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, where she will be honored alongside Russia’s Dmitry Muratov.

“It has become incredibly hard and far more dangerous for every one of us.”

Ressa, a co-founder of the investigative news site Rappler, and Muratov, a co-founder of Russia’s leading independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, were honored in October for their efforts to “protect freedom of expression.”

Criticising “our authoritarian-style leaders and budding dictators” who “want us to voluntarily give up our rights”, Ressa urged journalists to defend their rights.

“Now more than ever we need to protect our rights, otherwise we will lose them,” she said.

“When facts are under threat, when you don’t have integrity of facts, you cannot have integrity of elections. So it begins with us, we must keep getting the facts and serving the people,” the former CNN correspondent said.

Ressa, 58, is a vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration’s policies, including the country’s drug war, which has killed thousands.

Her trip to Oslo had been in the works for quite some time. She is currently on bail pending an appeal against a conviction in a cyber libel case from last year, and she requested permission to travel to Norway for the ceremony from four different courts.

Ressa, who was wearing a black facemask emblazoned with the words “Journalism is not a crime,” was emotional upon her arrival and struggled to hold back tears in the freezing temperatures.

On an annual list compiled by Reporters Without Borders, the Philippines is currently ranked 138th in the world for press freedom, with Vladimir Putin’s Russia ranking 150th.

Via: Tribune.net

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