Filipino journalist Ma. Salvacion “Inday” Espina-Varona is on the shortlist of Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) Press Freedom Awards.
The contributing editor for ABSCBN News is on the shortlist for the Reporters Without Borders awards category for “The Prize for Independence” along with nominees from Ghana, Hungary , and Pakistan.
The veteran journalist, who previously headed the ABSCBN citizen journalism website “Bayan Mo I-Patrol Mo,” is cited by RSF for being very active on social media networks.
The RSF Awards will be held on November 8 for the first time in London.
“Over the years, she has reported extensively on issues that are sensitive in the Philippines, such as child prostitution, violence against women, LGBT issues and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao,” went the shortlist citation for Varona.
The non-governmental organization espousing freedom to inform and be informed also noted Varona’s founding of #BabaeAko (“Me, a woman” in Tagalog), a social media campaign that informs and mobilises the public on women’s rights issues in “response to Duterte’s many misogynistic comments and attacks on women.”
In a Facebook post, Varona acknowledged the RSF citation noting the press freedom fighter legacy of Filipino journalists.
“Filipino writers and journalists have a proud legacy to fall back on. Generations fought for press freedom and freedom of expression, from colonial times and, certainly, during the Marcos dictatorship. We must never take for granted what so many who went before us fought for and even died for.
In defense of this constitutional right, journalists and news outfits, and critical netizens, have received grief — and not just from the Duterte administration. I am proud of colleagues who stand firm despite attacks and even more proud because many of the stories that sparked vilification from government have stood the test of time,” wrote the journalist who is also acknowledged as an important social media influencer.
Inday Espina-Varona is one of the journalists from 12 countries who are listed as awards nominees for the 2018 edition of the RSF Awards which has been established 26 years ago.