Back in June of this year, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former research-writer for the company Reynaldo Santos, Jr. were convicted of cyber libel by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46. It was in relation to the charges filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng for a 2012 article that Santos, Jr. wrote for Rappler where it was claimed that Keng lent his sports utility vehicle (SUV) to then-Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Many have decried the decision, saying that Ressa and Santos, Jr. cannot be charged with cyber libel since the article was posted months before the Cybercrime Law was passed. Groups like the Human Rights Watch said that the conviction is a clear manifestation of the administration’s efforts to silence critics for their personal or political agenda. And now, three months after the conviction, another group has spoken against the conviction.
The European Parliament (EU) has passed a resolution calling on the Philippine government to drop all charges against the Rappler CEO and their former staff. The resolution was passed with a vote of 626 for, 7 against, and 52 abstain.
“All politically motivated charges against her and her colleagues should be dropped,” the EU Parliament said. The parliament added that they are “alarmed about the deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines, and condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecutions, and violence against journalists, including in the case of Maria Ressa.”
The European Parliament on Thursday, September 17, approved a resolution urging the Philippine government to drop all charges against Rappler CEO and executive editor Maria Ressa, former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr, and the news website’s other staff. Full story: https://rappler.com/nation/european-union-resolution-urging-philippine-government-drop-charges-vs-maria-ressa
Posted by Rappler on Thursday, September 17, 2020
The proceedings on Thursday, September 17, even reached a point where Parliament member Hannah Neumann of Germany said that she wants the Philippines’ privileges with regards to the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) trade arrangement revoked. The GSP+ allows the Philippines and other developing countries to export to the EU without having to pay much for fees and taxes.
The EU Parliament also called on the administration to issue a new franchise for ABS-CBN, which they shut down back in May.