A Devastating Day for Journalism

By: ICFJ | 06/15/2020

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

Security Guidance for Journalists on the U.S.-Mexico Border

After several attacks against Mexican journalists throughout 2022, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers collaborated with USAID-Mexico to develop security recommendations and guidance for journalists working on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Protocolos de Seguridad Para Periodistas En el US-Mexico Frontera

En el marco del programa del Hub de Periodismo de Investigación de la Frontera Norte que impulsa ICFJ junto al Border Center, el pasado 4 de noviembre se lanzaron una serie de protocolos de seguridad con especial foco en los riesgos distintivos de la zona norte de México. Sin embargo, muchos de los elementos que se comparten en los documentos pueden ser útiles para periodistas de otras regiones de México y América Latina.

Helping MENA News Outlets on the Path to Sustainability

A cohort of 16 independent news organizations in MENA will receive training, intensive coaching and funds through the Google News Initiative Startups Lab in the Middle East and North Africa.