The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday evening, 9 July, announced the launch of the global campaign and reporting initiative in support of Filipino journalist Maria Ressa.
Ressa, a former CNN journalist, is heading a news website ‘Rappler’ that has been critical of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. A trial court in Manila had convicted Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr over cyber libel charges on 15 June.
She was later released on bail but could face six years in prison if the case is not overturned on appeal.
The campaign in her support involves hashtag #HoldTheLine and a petition calling for the Philippine government to drop all charges and cases against Ressa, Santos and Rappler, and end pressure on independent media in the Philippines.
“Ressa is facing at least six other cases and charges. Guilty verdicts in all of them could result in her spending nearly a century in jail. Rappler is also implicated in most of these cases, with several involving criminal charges related to libel, foreign ownership, and taxes. The convictions are the latest offense in the Duterte government’s wider campaign to stifle independent reporting, including the recent shutdown of the main national broadcaster ABS-CBN,” read the statement issued as part of the campaign.
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