Twitter expresses support for Maria Ressa, press freedom

Gelo Gonzales

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Twitter expresses support for Maria Ressa, press freedom
'Governments should not impinge on the fundamental values of a free press,' says Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – Twitter expressed its support for Maria Ressa, the CEO and executive editor of Rappler, whom the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 convicted over cyber libel charges, along with former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr, on Monday, June 15. 

“We stand with Maria Ressa and journalists around the world who are being persecuted for doing their jobs and holding power to account. Governments should not impinge on the fundamental values of a free press. It must end now,” the Twitter Public Policy page said in a tweet on Monday.


The Twitter Public Policy page is the official account of the platform’s global public policy team.

Twitter itself, as of late, has not been afraid to enforce its policies despite pressure from US President Donald Trump, labeling one of his tweets “unsubstantiated” and in another instance, “glorifying violence.”

Trump retaliated by signing an executive order that calls on regulators to evaluate if online platforms can be liable for content posted by its users, expanding its potential accountabilities. 

Facebook’s stance has been the opposite, with Mark Zuckerberg standing by their policy to not touch political speech even if they contain potentially misleading information. 

“I just believe strongly that Facebook should not be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” said Zuckerberg, whose company has since seen employee protests and resignations for its continued refusal to police Trump’s posts made during the George Floyd protests. 

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey fired back, saying that Twitter’s efforts to point out misinformation did not make it an “arbiter of truth.”

Rights groups, international media groups, and student groups also condemned the guilty verdict against Ressa and Santos. (READ: Rappler statement on cyber libel conviction: Failure of justice, failure of democracy)

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.