MANILA – A court of the philippines sentenced on Monday, Maria Ressa, senior journalist and outspoken criticism of president Rodrigo Duterte, for cyber-defamation, in the latest blow to freedom of the press in the country.
The decision stems from a case filed in 2017 against Ms. Ressa by prosecutors after a businessman challenged a section that, according to him, had linked incorrectly to a judge of a high standard and was connected to the world of drugs. But the case has been portrayed by Ms. Ressa and his media, Rappler, as the last attempt of the administration Duterte to push the freedom of the press.
The court stated Rappler, the company, free of any responsibility. Ms. Ressa and the employee of Rappler, Reynaldo Santos, have both been sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to a maximum of six years. It is not clear if they will go to prison, because the court may still allow them to pay a deposit.
Speaking last week by phone, Ms. Ressa has denied the accusations and said that it was an attempt to silence Rappler, which has criticized Mr. Duterte and his bloody crackdown against traffickers and users of drugs. “Corrupt, coerce, co-opt. You are with us or against us, ” she said. “If I am condemned, then it is codified in the act. “