Palace congratulates Ressa for Nobel win, stresses no censorship in country
The Palace congratulated Maria Ressa for being the first Filipino to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
This was announced by Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in his regular press briefing Monday.
"We congratulate Maria Ressa. It is a victory for a Filipino and we are happy for that," said Roque.
"There's no crab mentality here in Malacanang," he added.
However, Roque emphasized that the press freedom is not attacked in the country.
"It is not a slap on the government. It was made by private individuals in Norway. We respect their decision but as I said, criminal liability of Maria Ressa remains pending in our courts and we leave it to our courts to decide on her fate," he said.
"There is no slap there because as everyone knows, no one has ever been censored in the Philippines," said Roque.
"A journalist who claims a chilling effect should not be a journalist," he added.
Roque said Malacañang agrees with the post of National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose in his Facebook account who said "Philippine press is alive and well not because of Maria Ressa."
“I have criticized Duterte but not on press freedom. The Philippine press is alive and well not because of Maria Ressa. No writer is in jail. There is no censorship. Duterte hasn’t closed a single newspaper or radio station. The closure of ABS-CBN was made by Congress which did not renew the ABS-CBN franchise," Jose said.
"Sure, he has influenced Congress but the real issue against ABS-CBN, as I have pointed out, is not 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 but just as it were in the past administrations; but those killings cannot be laid at Duterte’s door," he said.
"Usually, they are made by minor politicians or officials attacked by journalists. The real test for journalists was made during the Marcos dictatorship when he imposed censorship, closed all media and jailed journalists," he added.
Ressa, chief executive officer of online news organization Rappler, and Russian Dmitry Muratov, were named recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday said it ''decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.''
'Maria Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines,'' said the Nobel Committee. Robina Asido/DMS