Freedom of Speech

Maria A. Ressa, Chief Executive Officer, The Rappler, Philippines

The conviction of Maria Ressa: weaponising cyber libel to suppress freedom of speech

On June 15, 2020, online news organization Rappler’s CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted of cyber libel charges over a seven-year-old report on a businessman’s alleged links to illegal drugs and human trafficking. The ruling, which can still be appealed and brought up to the Supreme Court, is the most recent addition to a growing list of attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in the Philippines.

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The Philippine Drug War: A Primer

The Philippine “War Against Drugs” lead by president Rodrigo Duterte since 2016 has led to the deaths of over 12,000 Filipinos till March 2018. Human rights organisations claim that the Philippine police have systematically targeted mostly poor and defenseless people across the country while planting “evidence”, recruiting paid killers and fabricating official incident reports.

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