Working as an interpreter for an online panel of senior journalists from the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, Adriana Nordin Manan was interpreting from English to Malay for members of a panel titled “Press in Distress: Will Independent Journalism Survive in Southeast Asia?” Among the attendees of the virtual session was Maria Ressa who found out during the session she had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Working alone in the interpreters’ Zoom room, I was focused on my work when suddenly I saw a message pop up in the chat box congratulating Maria Ressa for the Nobel Peace Prize. What just happened? Could it be? Yes, I was witnessing in real time the moment a Nobel laureate received the news of a lifetime. In the crowd of a few hundred, from all across Southeast Asia and beyond, stunned silence descended. Maria turned off her camera for a while, while she took the call from Oslo. When she came back on, everyone was overjoyed. It was a delight to think that independent media workers in the region–people who often work at great personal risk–were seeing one of their own, somebody who is a true inspiration and example of what fearless conviction looks like, receive THE Nobel Peace Prize. Maria addressed the crowd, urging everyone to never forget to ‘hold the line.’”