Head of the day – The opponent of the President nThe journalist Maria Ressa is one of the most prominent Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Now, she was sentenced due to “defamation”.Opinion Arne Perras0 KommentareDas judgment against Maria Ressa gained worldwide attention and criticism. It is regarded as an attack on the freedom of the press.Photo: Ezra Acayan ()

Maria Ressa will not keep silence according to the verdict, as always, she speaks in a liquid and self-conscious sets in, the cameras and microphones. She was always a fighter; only your voice rolls over in the Video of the press conference in the Philippine capital of Manila. The tension of the decision must be tremendous for you, which is not surprising. Because just judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa has the prominent journalist and founder of the online magazine, “Rappler”, along with the author Reinaldo Santos Jr., in a Defamation action found guilty. Up to six years for the two to be thrown in jail if their appeal to the constitutional court fails.

now in your case, of great symbolism, it is regarded as a Symptom of the increasing pressure, the critical journalists are exposed to in the Philippines. Long, the press was far more free than in neighboring States. However, under President Rodrigo Duterte, this is changing rapidly. He ruled increasingly authoritarian, threatening the freedom of press and opinion, as civil rights activists complain.

the law was not yet in force

Negotiating was before the court on a Text, the Santos wrote and was published in 2012 in “Rappler” under Ressas line. He quotes from a secret service report that a businessman with a drug smuggling, human trafficking and other offences in connection. The entrepreneurs rejected the allegations in 2017 and filed a complaint.

decision of The judicial authorities, Santos and Ressa on the basis of a new law on cyber crime to indict, which appeared already in the approach questionable. Because the law was entered only after the publication of the article. Retrospectively, it could find no application. The prosecution, however, a slip presented hole by claiming that the Text in 2014 is “again” has been published after an Editor write a tiny error of law had improved; the sound tricky, but the court was not bothered by it. This is also why many are convinced that the process served one goal: to criminalize Ressa and the freedom of the press intimidate.

“We should serve as a cautionary tale,” says Ressa about the judgment. It is the goal of journalists to deter. Therefore, they appealed to this Monday morning to your colleagues: “Have no fear. Because if you not insist on your rights, then you will lose them.” It seeks in these moments of Confidence, as it did so often. However, it is visibly heavier than usual, because this is also a particularly difficult day, for Ressa and her colleagues – but also for all others who want to preserve the right to freedom of expression and critical journalism in the Philippines.

“you will not If you insists on your rights, then you lose.”

Maria Ressa

human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch protested, the organization reporters without borders complained: “The verdict of the handwriting of President carries Duterte.” The judgment should be set aside, if the Philippine judiciary wool to retain their credibility. Amal Clooney, the international defense team for Ressa, spoke of an “Affront to the rule of law”.

stressed The judge, in turn, they have only examined the evidence, the freedom of the press is not to be limited by your judgment. You have also the right to protection against defamation, to consider. The Text of the evidence for the accusations were missing. Ressa, who previously worked for CNN and the decades of crisis and war zones, reported, has driven in spite of strong political repression as a Manager for “Rappler” a consistent reporting of the so-called Anti-drug war of President Duterte and the attention to corruption and other abuses directed. In the case of the bloody raids and people have died in the Philippines, thousands of people, hunts under the Dutertes leadership, mostly in the slums. The United Nations have denounced the crime.

criticism in the Bud

The popularity of the Dutertes suffocation however, this harm just a little, he relies primarily on supporters in the Philippine middle class. However, he has also brought his Troll armies of the Internet in position, to nip any criticism in the Bud. Also Ressa experienced often such attacks. What is published in your magazine, called Duterte a “waste”. But the journalist was never discouraged in their educational work.

The President has hidden his aversion to Ressa never, the judgment is likely to play into the hands. Duterte denies, however, is always that he is interfering in the work of the judiciary. At the same time he is working on a new tool that could be useful to it. Soon Duterte, a so-called Anti-terrorism law is ready to sign. Critics believe that it is much too vague, and the government will give further opportunities to pursue their political opponents.

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