MANILA, Philippines – It was a manic Monday, June 15, for the Rappler newsroom as the company, CEO Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Rey Santos Jr went to the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) to hear the decision on the cyber libel case filed against them.
Manila RTC Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa convicted Ressa and Santos over charges filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng. Rappler as a company was declared to have no liability.
What was It like facing a verdict over a relatively new law that has faced scrutiny since enactment? What thoughts came to mind as they appeared before the court personally, despite quarantine measures still being in place?
Join Ressa and lawyer Ted Te in a Rappler+ webinar on Monday, June 22 at 2pm.
Local and international human rights and press freedom advocates, business groups, and international figures have denounced the verdict, describing it as a blow to Philippine democracy. (LIST: Groups worldwide decry ‘new weapon’ vs press freedom after cyber libel verdict)
In 2013, Rappler was among the organizations that campaigned against the passage of the cybercrime law due to its potential chilling effect on freedom of expression and press freedom. Rappler was among the first to suffer from its loopholes. (Aquino’s contested cyber libel law gets new claws in ruling vs Rappler)
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