When Philippine police in February arrested journalist Maria Ressa ’86, we decided silence was not an option. Ressa is the founder of Rappler, a news site known for its critical coverage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She’s been honored by press-freedom organizations and professional colleagues and was named by Time as one of its 2018 Persons of the Year.

A team of erstwhile rivals (one of us worked for the Press Club at Princeton; another for The Daily Princetonian), we reached out to members of the Princeton community who, like us, had formative experiences as student journalists. We also contacted those who have taught and otherwise advanced the cause of journalism on campus.

The response was phenomenal. Within 72 hours, more than 100 Princetonians added their names to a statement of support for Ressa. When we placed it as a full-page ad in The Daily Princetonian, the managing board joined us with an editorial.

A Glimmer of Hope

Lessons from rallying alumni support for Maria Ressa ’86

Ressa’s roster of supporters encompasses seven decades of Princetonians standing in solidarity with a brave and enterprising editor and her fight for free speech.

Members of Ressa’s Class of 1986 are suggesting another way to show support. They have launched a drive for donations to a legal-defense fund established for her by First Look Media and the Committee to Protect Journalists. To make an online donation, go to: https://pressfreedomdefensefund.org/donate.

Checks, made out to First Look Media Works Inc., should be sent to: 

First Look Media
Attn: Kate Myers, Press Freedom
Defense Fund
114 Fifth Ave., 18th Floor
New York, NY 10011

We thank our fellow alumni for helping us to send an important message: At a time when democracy and the journalism that supports it are under threat across the globe, complacency, like silence, is not an option.

Mike McCurry ’76
Kathy Kiely ’77
Anne Tergesen ’86
Julia Hicks de Peyster ’86