The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitri Muratov of Russia for “their courageous fight for freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” Maria Ressa joined former fellow Steven Butler earlier this year for a joint Institute of Current World Affairs and Network 20/20 webinar discussion. Ressa is leading the struggle for press freedom in the Philippines, where she has endured unrelenting political harassment and arrests by the populist government of President Rodrigo Duterte. Even with widespread international condemnation of her persecution, Ressa remains under threat of imprisonment.
Executive Editor and CEO, Rappler
Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, one of the Philippines first multimedia news sites and the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.
In addition to her Nobel Prize, Ressa has received many prestigious awards. She was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time’s Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of BBC’s 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine’s world’s top 50 thinkers. In 2020, she received the Journalist of the Year award, John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, Most Resilient Journalist Award, Tucholsky Prize, Truth to Power Award and Four Freedoms Award.
Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
ICWA fellow in Korea, 1983-86
Steven Butler has worked as a journalist throughout Asia, writing for the Financial Times and The Christian Science Monitor from South Korea in the mid-1980s, before joining the staff of the Financial Times and reporting in Southeast Asia, London and Tokyo, including regular reporting visits to China. He lived in Tokyo for a decade, later joining U.S. News & World Report, and returning to Washington, where he served as foreign editor at Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau during the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Top photo: Maria Ressa during an interview with President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2016 (King Rodriguez/Presidential photo)