Maria Ressa, CEO and executive editor at Rappler, and former staffer Reynaldo Santos Jr were found guilty of “cyber libel” on June 15, 2020 in the Philippines.
Human rights organizations and press freedom groups have called the verdict a politically motivated act against Rappler, which has critically covered President Rodrigo Duterte’s“war on drugs”, and Ressa herself, even though Rappler was not found guilty in the case. The Rappler article in question was published four months before the cyber libel law came into effect and prosecutors used a punctuation correction as justification to include the news article within the new cyber libel law’s timeframe. Ressa and Santos’ sentence, which can still be appealed, could carry a punishment of up to six years in prison.
The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia (OPCC) condemns any type of judicial harassment of journalists from any government or institution and calls for the charges against Ressa and Santos to be dropped.