Court allows Philippines journalist Oslo travel for Nobel prize
Bangkok, Dec 3 (EFE).- A Philippines court gave the go-ahead to journalist Maria Ressa Friday to travel to Norway and receive her Nobel Peace Prize.
The Court of Appeals allowed the Rappler CEO to stay in Oslo for five days from Dec.8 to Dec.13, during which she will attend the ceremony on Dec.10.
Ressa, 58, a co-founder of the news website Rappler, and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov were awarded the prize in October for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.?
Global rights defenders have alleged that press freedom in the Philippines is under threat due to the abuse of power by the government led by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Duterte administration has cracked down on media critical of its governance with the closure of ABS-CBN, the largest media company in the Philippines, and the conviction of Ressa for cyber libel.
Ressa needed permission from the courts to leave the country as she remained engulfed in several judicial processes.
Her media house has investigated the bloody war on drugs launched in 2016 by Duterte.
Philippines solicitor-general Jose Calida had filed a plea a week ago in the Court of Appeals to deny the journalist the permission to travel to Oslo and collect the award.
The government had said her statements against the Philippine justice system had made her a flight risk even as Ressa has stated that “exile is not an option,” her news website said.
The UN had urged the Philippine government to allow Ressa to travel to collect the Nobel Peace Prize.
The journalist faces six criminal cases for alleged tax evasion and violation of media property laws.
A court convicted her in June 2020 for cyberdefamation. She has challenged the conviction but faces up to six years in prison.
Ressa, who stood out for her investigative reporting about the so-called war on drugs by Duterte, faces seven cases and the possible closure of Rappler, the influential digital medium that she founded in 2012.
The deadly anti-drugs campaign has left thousands dead in police operations amid allegations of extrajudicial killing.
The alleged crimes against humanity are under a probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Ressa has also fought against fake news and misinformation on social media like Facebook. EFE