A Devastating Day for Journalism

|

Maria Ressa, an outspoken champion of press freedom, was convicted today in a case that is widely seen as a crackdown on independent journalism in the Philippines.

“This is a miscarriage of justice," said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Maria is facing a bevy of charges designed to silence her and Rappler. If journalists are muzzled, democracy itself is at stake. ICFJ condemns Maria's conviction and calls for all other charges against her to be dropped.”

Ressa, the CEO and executive editor of Rappler, received the ICFJ Knight International Journalism Award in 2018. ICFJ cited her pioneering news site for being at the forefront of both investigative journalism and media innovation and for shining “a spotlight on the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte and his government’s brutal war on drugs.”

Ressa was found guilty today for the criminal offense of “cyber libel” under the Cybercrime Prevention Act for a story published prior to enactment of the law. She was sentenced to a minimum of six months and a maximum of six years imprisonment. Ressa was granted bail pending appeal. Ressa faces another seven charges, including tax evasion, and has denied all of them.

For the Philippines in particular, this is a devastating blow to a country once known for a vibrant, free press. Ressa has often said that her case is the “canary in the coal mine” for independent journalism everywhere. Journalists worldwide need to do what they do best: report facts, seek the truth, and hold the powerful to account.

Latest News

Online Violence: The New Front Line for Women Journalists*


There is a new front line in journalism safety – it is where female journalists sit at the epicentre of risk. The digital, psychological and physical safety threats confronting women in journalism are overlapping, converging and inseparable. Where and when they intersect, they can be terrifying - they are also potentially deadly.

Armenia's Ani Mejlumyan Battles Media Restrictions to Report the Pandemic

Investigative journalist Ani Mejlumyan recalls the onset of COVID-19. The day after Armenia declared a state of emergency in mid-March, the government censored the media to prevent them from reporting on the pandemic. Restaurants, meanwhile, remained open for ten more days. 

Key Quotes: Combating COVID-19 in Germany

As COVID-19 spread across Europe, countries like France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. faced high rates of cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus. Germany, meanwhile, eluded similar levels of transmission and suffering among its citizens.