The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines expressed its congratulations to Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for receiving this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
In a statement, the bishops noted that recent popes “have on occasion highlighted the important role that the press play in gauging the health of a healthy democratic society.”
“It is not a surprise, then, that the Church “find the right esteem for your work and the recognition of the freedom of the press,” said the Filipino bishops in a statement on Monday, October 11.
On Friday, October 8, the Norwegian Nobel Committee named Ressa and Dmitry Muratov of Russia as winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.”
Ressa and Muratov are given the peace prize for their “courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” read a statement from the award-giving body.
It said that both journalists “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.”
“Ressa uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country,” read the statement.
The Filipino Catholic bishops said that all over the world, “journalistic work has become more and more difficult because of the level of disinformation and fake news that continue to spread through the means of social communications.”
“The vocation and mission, therefore, of the members of the press (as envisioned by our popes) is to contribute not only for the search for truth, but more importantly, to help build a culture of dialogue,” added the bishops.
“We are grateful that Ms. Ressa, together with many of the distinguished and dedicated members of the fourth estate, have discerned the signs of the times and have valiantly responded and continue to respond to this particular invitation,” they said in the statement.
The bishops said that the “important recognition – the first for a Filipino – would hopefully strengthen our people’s conviction to build a nation where journalism “is free, at the service of truth, goodness and justice.”
“As Filipinos and bishops, we commit our continued collaboration in order to uphold these values,” said the bishops.