Friends of Chicago Network:
MARCH 2019 is Women’s History Month. I call to your attention two women: MARIA RESSA in the Philippines and SANJUANA MARTÍNEZ in Mexico who are creating history today in the struggle to investigate and to publish information that is essential to the well-being of their respective civil societies. Their struggle is our struggle.
MARIA RESSA [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Ressa] runs an online news organization RAPPLER [https://www.rappler.com/news ] which provides a web platform for the responsible reporting of accurate information and a digital forum for judicious articulations of perspectives and opinions not only for the Philippines but for the Southeast Asia region.
Maria has been the subject of numerous death – threats and other efforts to intimidate and silence her. Last month, Maria was arrested and spent a night in jail for ‘libel.’ This link presents Maria discussing the libel laws under which she and other journalists and writers in the Philippines are being prosecuted = http://time.com/5524361/maria-ressa-rappler-cyber-libel-charges/
PEN International will hold its 2019 World Congress in Manila in October and will bring a strong spotlight to the situation for freedom of expression and freedom to write in the Philippines.
SANJUANA MARTÍNEZ −− who came to Chicago last October as the guest of Chicago Network (Chicago City of Refuge Initiative) when she was confronted with death threats for her work uncovering corruption in various Mexican governmental agencies, in the Catholic Church in Mexico, and in the Mexican armed forces −− has been nominated by the new reform-minded president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador [ known affectionately as AMLO ], to head NOTIMEX, the official news agency of Mexico. [ https://polemon.mx/ella-es-sanjuana-martinez-la-futura-directora-de-notimex ] It is our hope that in this governmental position Sanjuana can work to stop the killing of journalists and other writers in Mexico who courageously work to uncover and publish information vital to the body politic of Mexico.
The killing of journalists and the silencing of expression has become a global epidemic = it is everywhere.
We of Chicago Network hope you will take time to reflect on the work of these two women journalists of exceptional courage and look for ways to give active support in your own communities to honest investigative journalism and to responsible publication of information and perspectives.
Literacy = the ability to read, think critically, write, and publish = is essential to the health of civil society.