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World U.N. urges Philippines to let Nobel laureate Ressa travel to Norway

12:55  30 november  2021
12:55  30 november  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States

  Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States The Philippines is restoring a military agreement with the United States that makes it easier for US forces to move in and out the country and signals to China a renewed commitment to the 70-year-old US-Philippine alliance. © Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/AFP/Getty Images US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shake hands after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military base in Manila on July 30, 2021.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations on Monday urged the Philippines to allow Nobel Prize winning journalist Maria Ressa to travel to Norway next month to accept the award.

FILE PHOTO: Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, one of 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners © Reuters/ELOISA LOPEZ FILE PHOTO: Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, one of 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winners

Ressa https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nobel-prize-shines-light-dark-time-philippines-ressa-2021-10-08, the first Nobel laureate from the Philippines, shared the Peace Prize with Russian investigative journalist Dmitry Muratov, a move widely seen as an endorsement of free speech rights, which are under fire worldwide.

Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States

  Philippines renews VFA, a key military agreement with the United States The Philippines is restoring a military agreement with the United States that makes it easier for US forces to move in and out the country and signals to China a renewed commitment to the 70-year-old US-Philippine alliance. © Rolex Dela Pena/Pool/AFP/Getty Images US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shake hands after a bilateral meeting at Camp Aguinaldo military base in Manila on July 30, 2021.

Ressa has requested government approval to travel to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the United Nations was "very concerned" about travel restrictions placed on Ressa by the government.

"We urge the government of the Philippines to immediately withdraw any such restrictions and allow her to travel to Oslo," Dujarric told reporters in New York.

The license for Ressa's news site, Rappler, has been suspended and she has faced legal action for various reasons. Supporters say she has been targeted for her scrutiny of government policies, including a bloody war on drugs launched by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The ranking of the Philippines in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index dropped two notches to 138 out of 180 countries, and the Committee to Protect Journalists ranks the Philippines seventh in the world in its impunity index, which tracks deaths of media members whose killers go free.

The government denies hounding media and says any problems faced by organisations are legal, not political. It says it believes in free speech.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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