The Asia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association expresses grave concern over the decision of a Philippine court to deny the appeals of Maria Ressa, founder of Rappler, and its former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr., and uphold their convictions for cyberlibel.
The article in question was published on May 29, 2012, months before the cybercrime law was enacted. Ressa was not even the editor of the piece.
In dismissing their appeal, the court also lengthened their jail time – to up to six years, eight months and 20 days.
This comes just a week after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) upheld its order to revoke Rappler’s license.
AAJA-Asia strongly condemns this sustained campaign of legal persecution against journalists and calls on the new government to drop the charges and foster a better environment for independent media. We also echo Rappler’s call for the Supreme Court to take a second look at the constitutionality of cyber libel – these are among the reasons why the Philippines has fallen to 147th out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index this year.
AAJA-Asia has always unequivocally stood in full support of Ressa, Rappler and all journalists around the region who face harassment and threats in the course of their work – and call on our communities to do the same.
The AAJA-Asia Board of Directors
The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the U.S. and Asia.
The Asia chapter of AAJA represents members across the Asia-Pacific region. It is a diverse, multi-ethnic community of local and international journalists and media professionals committed to supporting a vibrant press in the Asia-Pacific region. We are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in media organizations, providing training opportunities to members, supporting students interested in journalism and advocating for fair media access.