On the guilty verdict vs Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr

The conviction of Rappler’s Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr. on cyber-libel charges has dire implications on the state of press freedom and the people’s right to information and freedom of expression in the Philippines. 

It sends the dangerous message that journalists who expose misdeeds of those in power are more vulnerable to retaliation to silence them. It also sends an even more dangerous message to the public that anyone and everyone can be criminalized on their views and opinions. 

With the conviction of Ressa and Santos, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, the killings and threats against journalists, the numerous violations faced by Filipinos on a daily basis and the passage of the terror bill, a full-blown dictatorship is made more palpable.