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Petition grows in support of Maria Ressa

Posted on: July 15, 2020 by Ian Murray

The petition in support of investigative journalist Maria Ressa, convicted in the Filipino courts is approaching the 10,000 signatories mark.

The petition – https://rsf.org/en/free-mariaressa – is being organised by the campaign #HoldTheLine which is supported by over 60 media freedom organisations including the Society of Editors.

Now campaign organisers are hoping a surge of names will boost the petition quickly to the 20,000 mark.

The call for action following the conviction of Ressa for “cyber- libel” by a court in the Philippines.

The #HoldTheLine campaign is being coordinated by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Acting in coordination with Ressa and her legal team, representatives from the three groups form the steering committee, working alongside dozens of partners on the global campaign. The campaign takes its name from Ressa’s commitment to ‘hold the line’ in response to sustained state harassment and prolific online violence.

Ian Murray, executive director of the SoE said: “We need to stand together as journalists in the face of such actions and call on our own governments to put words into action where press freedom is concerned”.

Filipino-American journalist, Ressa is best known for two decades covering South East Asia for CNN and founding the multi-award winning Philippines news website Rappler. On 15 June 2020, she was convicted of “cyber-libel”, alongside former Rappler colleague Reynaldo Santos Jr — a criminal charge for which they face up to six years in prison. The conviction relates to a story about corruption from 2012 – before the law was even enacted – and hung on the correction of a typo.

Ressa and Santos both posted bail, but could be imprisoned if the case is not overturned on appeal. Ressa is facing other charges. Guilty verdicts in all of them could result in her spending nearly a century in jail. Rappler is also implicated in most of these cases, with several involving criminal charges related to libel, foreign ownership, and taxes. 

To sign the petition go here