MANILA (UPDATE) - For her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression," veteran journalist Maria Ressa has been awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, the Norweigan Nobel Committee announced on Friday.
Ressa, the CEO of online news site Rappler, was named along with Russia's Dmitry Muratov.
"Ms Ressa and Mr Muratov are receiving the Peace Prize for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia," chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee told a news conference.
"At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions," she added.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.
In a statement, Nobel Peace Prize body said Ressa "uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country, the Philippines."
Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler, which gave "critical attention on the Duterte regime’s controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign," the award-giving body added.
"The number of deaths is so high that the campaign resembles a war waged against the country’s own population. Ms Ressa and Rappler have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse," it added.
Nobel laureates will receive 10 million Swedish kronor (SEK) or $1.15 million, a diploma, and a gold medal, based on the Nobel Prize website.
Among notable Nobel peace laureates include former US President Barack Obama (2009), Nelson Mandela (1993), and Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).
'HOLD THE LINE'
In a live video with Rappler, Ressa dedicated her win to her colleagues in Rappler.
"I think what we have to do as journalists is to just hold the line... When you attack the media, it's oftentimes shooting the messenger... The recognition of how difficult it is to be a journalist today, this is for you Rappler," Ressa said.
"I hope, energy for us to continue the battle for facts... We'll just keep doing on what we are doing," she added.
In 2020, Ressa and a researcher were found guilty of cyber libel over an article tagging a businessman to alleged illegal activities.
Rappler and Ressa are also facing charges of tax fraud, violation of the Securities Regulation Code and the Anti-Dummy Law, among others.
Rappler has described cases and acts against it as an attack on press freedom.
Ressa was also among the TIME Magazine Person of the Year awardees in 2018.
During the same year, she also received the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.
The award, given by the Committee to Protect Journalists' board of directors, recognizes the recipient’s “extraordinary and sustained commitment to press freedom.”
-- with reports from Reuters