Philippines court prevents María Ressa from taking flight to US

Bangkok Desk, Feb 17 (EFE).- A Philippines court has prevented Nobel Peace Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa from taking her scheduled flight to the United States, where she is to receive an award at the weekend.

“Not such a good morning 🙁 I should have landed in JFK a few hours ago for a short trip to receive an award from @Princeton Saturday,” Ressa wrote on Twitter.

She is to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award, given annually to an undergraduate alumna or alumnus of Princeton University.

“I received court approvals from 6 of 7 charges, but the 7th court order was released a few hours before I was supposed to get on the flight.”

According to a document shown by the journalist, Ressa had permission to leave the country and arrive in the US on Wednesday and return the following Tuesday. But the delay in the response to the last request prevented her from traveling.

Ressa, recognized for her work fighting fake news at the helm of Rappler and critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, said that she filed an urgent motion for the court to reconsider her position so she can travel Wednesday evening.

“The randomness is a mind game, but it doesn’t defeat me. Makes me more resolute to demand justice,” she said.

Ressa was able to travel to Oslo, Norway, in December to deliver her speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shares with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov for their courageous fight to safeguard freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia.

The Filipino journalist has been subjected to intense judicial harassment since she began reporting on Duterte and his war on drugs and fighting against misinformation and fake news.

Ressa is facing several criminal cases for alleged tax evasion and violation of media ownership laws, and was convicted in June 2020 of “cyberlibel” by a Philippine court. EFE


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