Lawyer for Philippines' Nobel Prize winner Ressa 'confident' about Oslo trip

Manila (AFP) – A lawyer for Philippine Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa, who faces multiple court cases, said Friday he was "confident" the journalist would be allowed to travel to Oslo to collect the award in person.


Ressa, co-founder of news website Rappler, and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov were given the award in October for their efforts to "safeguard freedom of expression".

The former CNN correspondent, who is on bail pending an appeal against a conviction last year in a cyber libel case, applied to three courts for permission to travel to Norway for the December 10 ceremony.

The Court of Appeals, which is handling the cyber libel case, on Friday gave her the green light after rejecting government lawyers' claims that she was a "flight risk".

Ressa has already received permission from a regional trial court hearing another case, according to Francis Lim, one of her lawyers.

She is still waiting for the Court of Tax Appeals to rule on her travel application, but Lim said: "We are confident that it will be granted."

Ressa has been a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his government's policies, including a drug war that has killed thousands.

Since Duterte was swept to power in 2016, Ressa and Rappler have endured what media advocates say is a grinding series of criminal charges, investigations and online attacks.

She faces a total of seven court cases, including the appeal against a conviction in the cyber libel case, for which she faces up to six years in prison.

Ressa, who is also a US citizen, returned to the Philippines on Thursday after a court-approved trip to the United States.