Monday, June 15, 2020
Free Press Unlimited strongly condemns the conviction of Maria Ressa and calls on the EU and its member states to take action. The globally renowned Filipino journalist and CEO of Rappler has been found guilty of cyber libel charges and is facing up to six years in prison. However, it's evident that the conviction of Maria Ressa is a politically motivated prosecution.

The conviction of Maria Ressa a devastating blow to press freedom and broader democratic values in the Philippines. Free Press Unlimited calls upon the EU and its Member States to take action on Maria Ressa's case and call for justice. 

Justice for Maria Ressa

This conviction is yet another one in a series of legal claims such as alleged tax evasion against Maria Ressa and Rappler. Over the past years, Free Press Unlimited has provided various forms of support to Rappler. We will continue to support Maria Ressa and the independent news platform in whichever way we can, especially during this critical time.

Violations of press freedom in the Philippines

Under Duterte's authoritarian rule, press freedom has systematically been violated. The conviction of Maria Ressa appears to be a direct retaliation for Rappler's critical and investigative reporting on President Duterte's war on drugs. It marks Duterte’s continuous effort to silence critical voices and eliminate all forms of opposition. The president has banned independent reporters from presidential events, shut down the country's biggest national news company ABS-CBN and often referred to journalists as “sons of bitches”.

Pressure on journalists

The press freedom violations in the Philippines reflect an increasing pressure on journalists and a broader worrisome global trend. In recent years, journalists that expose or criticise undemocratic regimes are facing intimidation, persecution or violence. In addition, journalists are increasingly attacked with fabricated charges which often have nothing to do with them or their publications.

About Free Press Unlimited

Free Press Unlimited strongly believes that independent journalism is vital to well-functioning democracies. All people should have access to reliable information and independent news. This enables them to critically assess the authorities and their decision-making. 

Photocredits: © DW/M. Magunia