The battle for the truth began a long time ago when a narrative of injustice and slavery took place. The fight for equality and justice among people of color and minority groups continued for decades. This time, however, would be a new era of struggle as all people had to fight for their freedom. And Maria Ressa, the co-founder and CEO of Rappler, started facing the consequences of her action as she dared stand to hold the line.
Maria Ressa’s battle for the truth continued to create a force to shine the light among journalists around the world. She inspired many activists and journalists locally and globally as she kept on saying and encouraging others to draw a line and decide to stand for the truth. Her struggles to fight for justice grew as Rodrigo Duterte, former President of the Philippines, helped Maria Ressa accomplish and reach her fame. The moment when Duterte put Ressa under pressure was the moment when Ressa walked toward her fame. For example, Ressa’s ten arrest warrants in the Philippines strengthened her commitment and dedication to confront her adversaries. Though she had to post bail for her investigative cases, she did not stop reporting the truth and telling stories from various organizations around the world.
As well, Ressa’s fight in the Philippines could emanate hope and truth for justice. Ressa vowed to protect democracy and press freedom. Even if she risked her life, she continued to be the beacon of hope to fight for the truth and stand up to a dictator. She became the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Russian editor Dmitry Muratov. She joined the World Movement for Democracy at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). In her combat for democracy, she imperiled her life. She jeopardized her peace and decided to take a stand and hold the line. Even if Duterte put her under various lawsuits, she vowed to fight for all activists and journalists like her around the world.
Besides, Duterte succeeded in putting Ressa on the pedestal. His action to maltreat some journalists through his verbal slurs made a few international communities and governments respond. Duterte thrived in silencing a few journalists and a media giant like ABS-CBS using his allies and connections. And yes, Duterte was so commanding and powerful that many activists and journalists around the world should consider that force. However, his action to put Ressa under fire failed him to silence her. Instead, she made Ressa and other journalists continue to fight. What Duterte did was make Ressa a global superstar.
Indeed, Ressa had to ask for a few court approvals to give her permission to travel across countries. She made international tours as global communities needed her to deliver her speech. Moreover, Ressa received various awards from various global organizations and made media and public appearances to acknowledge her courage and presence to inspire others to hold the line and fight for the truth. She needed to speak the truth, preserve democracy, and defend press freedom because of these reasons: “Without facts, there would be no trusts; without trusts, there would be no truths; without truths, there would be no shared realities.” Such compelling assertions made Ressa prominent across nations. With Ressa’s media and public appearances on a global scale, Duterte failed to silence Ressa. Instead, he helped her rise to fame.