Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday urged the government to allow Filipino journalist Maria Ressa’s request to travel to Norway to receive her Nobel Peace prize award.
Gordon, who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said Ressa’s award is the first for the Philippines and for a Filipino journalist that should be considered a great occasion to celebrate despite political differences.
“To many of us, the prestigious award conferred to Ressa, a historic first for the Philippines, sets the momentum in the right direction of our individual and collective efforts to allow a culture of truth-telling to prevail in our country,” Gordon said.
“By her dedication and personal sacrifice, she truly deserves all support for such global distinction,” the senator added.
Recently, the government—through the Office of the Solicitor General—opposed Ressa’s request to travel to Oslo, Norway where she is set to receive her Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10.
Ressa sought the permission of the government due to the libel and tax evasion charges she is currently facing.
Aside from Ressa, Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov is also set to receive the Nobel Peace Prize award for their efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression” which is a pre-condition for democracy and lasting peace.
Instead of vitriol, Gordon said the government should regard Ressa as an individual who brought honor and pride to the country by pushing for a culture of truth-telling to prevail in the country.
“Let us then allow the first Filipino Nobel laureate to bring pride and honour to our country and speak on behalf of the freedom-loving and peace-seeking Filipino people who continually fight unflagging attempts to manufacture and spread lies and disinformation rewriting our history and muzzle all those who are critical of government policies,” the senator stressed.
“The only risk the government should be concerned about is its flight from reason that, if allowed, would put the country into further embarrassment before the eyes of the international community,” he reiterated.
Gordon is among the senators who earlier urged the Senate to confer Ressa with a Senate Medal of Excellence for bringing pride to the country.
He also authored Senate Resolution No. 925 recognizing Ressa’s feat last Oct. 11 for serving as an inspiration to journalists and a beacon of hope to ordinary citizens, amid the deluge of fake news and disinformation campaign.