Maria Ressa to U.S. journalists: What happened to PH can happen to you

The US-based Society of Professional Journalists honors Ressa, Terry Anderson, Nick Ut, and Jamal Khashoggi for their courage and contribution to the profession

Camille Elemia

Published: 12:31 PM September 8, 2019

Updated: 12:33 PM September 8, 2019

SPJ honors Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, photojournalist Nick Ut (left) and former foreign correspondent Terry Anderson. Rappler photo

TEXAS, USA – The esteemed US-based Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) on Saturday, September 7, honored Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and 3 other journalists for their courage and contribution to the profession. 

In her speech, Ressa called on American journalists to protect democracy amid the continuous rise of misinformation and media attacks.

“This nightmare began for me more than 3 years ago. Rappler wrote the first pieces about it globally in 2016.... If nothing changes, what’s happened to us is going to happen to you,” Ressa said in her speech.

“Political bullies who threaten and abuse journalists are never happy until they get complete capitulation. I believe our battle is your battle,” she said.

"Protect the rights guaranteed by our democracies or watch them slowly erode in plain sight.”

Also awarded were former foreign correspondent Terry Anderson, photojournalist Nick Ut, and the late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Ressa, a journalist in Asia for more than 30 years, is a former CNN bureau chief and ABS-CBN executive. She co-founded Rappler in 2012.

Ressa and Rappler have been under threat since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power in 2016. Ressa was arrested at least twice for government-backed charges and has since posted bail. (LIST: Cases vs Maria Ressa, Rappler directors, staff since 2018)

Anderson is a former foreign correspondent for the Associated Press and a professor of journalism. In 1985, he and several other Americans were abducted by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Beirut, Lebanon. He was released in 1991.

Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist who contributed to the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Ut is a retired photojournalist from AP. He won a Pulitzer Prize for for his iconic Vietnam War photo, depicting children, including a naked 9-year old girl Kim Phuc, fleeing from a napalm bombing on their village. –