The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines bewails the filing of another cyber libel complaint against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa over a tweet she posted in February 2019.
The suit brought against Ressa by Wilfredo Keng, the same complainant in the cyber libel case for which she and former writer-researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted, this time cites a February 15, 2019 Tweet showing screenshots of a 2002 Philstar.com article on the businessman’s alleged links to the murder of a former Manila councilor.
This article, which Philstar took down on February 16, or a day after Ressa’s tweet, because “the camp of Mr. Wilfredo Keng raised the possibility of legal action,” was one of the sources cited in the article over which the first suit was filed.
As grave as the implications the conviction of Ressa and Santos hold not only for the media but for every Filipino who uses the Internet and social media, we fear this complaint, if the State further perverts the law, could spell doom for freedom of expression online.
To our colleagues in the community of independent journalists, let us remain vigilant and continue to resist all attempts to intimidate and silence us.
To the people, we call on you to stand with us. We cannot afford to lose freedom of the press because it belongs to you, the people we serve. It is this freedom that allows us to serve your right to know by delivering you the timely and accurate information you need to decide on your individual and collective futures.
To the State, we ask: Do you really believe you can continue to subvert the rule of law and further erode our already diminished rights and freedoms without an accounting?
–The NUJP National Directorate