6 December 2021
High time for charges against Maria Ressa to be dropped.
The Nobel Committee awarded Maria Ressa it’s 2021 Peace Prize for her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.” The committee recognised her extraordinary efforts to hold the powerful to account in the Philippines, particularly in the face of extreme pressure from the authorities. Yet Maria continues to face a raft of spurious legal cases that appear aimed only at disrupting her work.
She has been convicted and sentenced to up to six years in prison in a spurious ‘cyber libel’ case, and still faces a host of other charges that seem aimed only at silencing her and intimidating other journalists.
The authorities in the Philippines need to recognise that far from being a threat, Maria’s and her colleagues who continue to work with courage and integrity, are vital assets to democracy in the Philippines.
With that in mind, it’s high time all remaining charges were dropped, and she be allowed to work and travel, starting with a trip to Oslo to collect the world’s most prestigious peace prize.
Peter Greste, AJF spokesperson, says:
“Ressa is globally recognised for her journalism and for her struggle against the spurious claims consistently brought against her.
“The Duterte Government needs to understand the incredible value that good, strong journalism brings to a democracy. Continuing to pursue the charges against Maria and Rappler in what appears to be a political vendetta, seriously damages the reputation of the Philippines as an Asian democracy.
“It’s high time for these charges to be dropped.”
Olivia Pirie-Griffiths, Executive Director
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