The latest cyber libel convictions by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) against Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr represented further erosion to the precarious state of press freedoms in the country. Since January 2019 to April 2020, there have been 61 recorded incidents against members of the press. At least three journalists have been killed during the same period.
The UNI PLC raises its voice in response to the swelling threats to press freedoms and the right to free expression in the Philippines. The attacks on media freedom is deeply troubling during this pandemic period when a healthy and functioning media is needed to help reach out to the people. This is on top of the new Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB) of 2020 which contains provisions that can be used to stifle lawful dissent.
UNI Apro Regional Secretary, Rajendra Acharya, said, “UNI Apro is very concerned about these unceasing attacks on fundamental freedoms in the Philippines especially when the latest ITUC Global Right Index records Philippines as among the world’s top 10 worst countries for workers in 2020. We strongly support UNI-PLC’s struggle and stand with you in calling upon the government to cease its attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression.”
Full text of UNI-PLC Statement on the Conviction of Maria Ressa and Rey Santos Jr. available here: https://www.facebook.com/uniplc/photos/a.981407012056362/1401406293389763/?type=3&theater