Karapatan denounces CA affirmation of Maria Ressa’s cyberlibel conviction

The Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the cyberlibel conviction of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. sends the chilling and dangerous message to journalists and the public that those who expose and speak against the misdeeds of those in power will face retaliation.

It is clear from the onset that these charges against Ressa and Santos along with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent affirmation of its order to shut down Rappler are part of the Duterte administration’s long string of targeted attacks against Rappler and its shameless efforts to erode press freedom and the people’s right to information.

No less than former President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he used his powers to push for the closure of broadcasting network ABS-CBN, and his administration sealed its legacy of attacks on the media with the blocking and censorship of alternative news sites Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly in its last days in power.

With the new Marcos Jr. administration’s seeming aversion to the media and its machinery of historical distortions, these attacks hold even more dire implications for the already dismal state of press freedom and human rights in the country.

Karapatan stands in solidarity with all press freedom advocates in denouncing these attacks against Rappler and press freedom. These forms of repression have no place in a democracy, and we vow to courage on in this fight to hold the line, and to tirelessly defend our hard-won rights and freedoms.

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General