Nobel Laureate Ressa Rules Out Going into Exile Over Philippine Charges

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Philippine Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Rassa on Monday refused to go into exile because of the legal challenges she faces, and her lawyers urged President Rodrigo Duterte’s government to drop all charges against her.

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The Philippines’ first Nobel laureate, Resa, shared the Peace Prize with Russian investigative journalist Dmitry Muratov, a move widely seen as support for free speech rights under fire around the world.

Ressa’s news site, Rappler, had its license suspended and has faced legal action for a variety of reasons, prompted, supporters say, by its investigation of government policies, including those on drugs introduced by Duterte. Including a bloody war.

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“Deportation is not an option,” Ressa told a streamed news conference with his legal team, adding that he felt the climate of violence and fear was waning under Duterte’s tenure ahead of the 2022 elections.

Freed on bail, as he appealed last year against a six-year prison sentence awarded for defamation, Resa is facing five tax evasion charges and a corporate case with the regulator. Is.

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“You don’t know what freedom feels like until you’ve almost lost it,” said Resa from Boston, USA.

The Philippines saw its ranking drop two places to 138 out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, and the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines seventh in the world in its impunity index, which is based on the deaths of those media members. Tracks down whose killers are set free.

The government refuses to encourage the media, saying the problems the organizations face are legal, not political. It says it believes in free speech.

Asked about Resa’s position, the Justice Minister said the Philippines values ​​democracy, freedom and human rights.

“All cases faced by Maria Resa in our country have gone through due legal procedures, and Resa has always been afforded, and will continue to have, all rights under our law to defend herself and prove her innocence fairly.” For. and fair trial,” Menardo Guevara told Reuters.

Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer representing Resa, told the news conference that the government needed to decide whether to “double down on the harassment of this lone journalist” or to show that it is not afraid of criticism and “a is once again a beacon for freedom and democracy around the world.”

Resa has requested government approval to travel to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December.

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