#HoldTheLine coalition demands charges against Maria Ressa be dropped before Nobel awards

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Nobel Peace Prize joint-winner veteran Philippine journalist Maria Ressa
Nobel Peace Prize joint-winner veteran Philippine journalist Maria Ressa pictures on display in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) headquarter in Paris, on October 8, 2021 - the day she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Image: RSF/Thomas Coex/AFP

Reporters Without Borders

One week ahead of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, the #HoldtheLine Coalition has called on the government of the Philippines to drop all pending cases and charges against veteran journalist and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa and grant her unrestricted permission to travel to Oslo to accept this international award.

The government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has strongly opposed Maria Ressa’s application to travel to Oslo for the Nobel ceremony but three out of four courts have now granted her permission to fly out for the December 10 award ceremony.

While Ressa’s legal team is almost certain that the remaining court will permit her to travel this week, the #HoldtheLine Coalition is concerned that the Philippine authorities may yet attempt to undermine Ressa’s free expression and restrict her movement.

“The government’s relentless and retaliatory campaign against Ressa serves a sole purpose: to silence independent journalism and curtail the free flow of information in the country,” said the HTL steering committee.

“In keeping with its public claims of support for free expression, the Philippines should overturn its opposition to Maria Ressa’s application to travel to Oslo, and drop all remaining charges against her immediately.”

In its announcement of the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it was honouring Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for their efforts to safeguard press freedom.

The Philippines is ranked 138th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

Contact #HTL Steering Committee: Gypsy Guillén Kaiser (press@cpj.org); Julie Posetti (jposetti@icfj.org); and Rebecca Vincent (rvincent@rsf.org)

The #HTL Coalition comprises more than 80 organisations around the world. This statement is issued by the #HoldTheLine Steering Committee, but it does not necessarily reflect the position of all or any individual coalition members or organisations.

Pacific Media Watch collaborates with Reporters Without Borders.

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