NAMIBIA - Investigative journalist and media executive Maria Ressa of the Philippines has been named as the 2021 laureate of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, following the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals. The Award Ceremony took place on 2 May in Windhoek, Namibia, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference. Each year during the celebration of world Press Freedom Day May 3 the laureate for this prize is announced. The Award Ceremony took place on 2 May in Windhoek, Namibia, on the occasion of the World Conference Freedom Day Global Conference 2-3 May, 2021.
Over a career spanning more than thirty years, Ressa has worked as CNN’s lead investigative reporter for Asia and the head of ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. She has also been involved in many international initiatives to promote press freedom. In recent years, she has been the target of online attacks and judicial processes relating to her investigative reporting and status as manager of online outlet Rappler. She has been arrested for alleged crimes related to the exercise of her profession, and has been subject to a sustained campaign of gendered online abuse, threats, and harassment, which at one point, resulted in her receiving an average of over 90 hateful messages an hour on Facebook.
UNESCO reminds governments that 3 May acts as a reminder of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.