CPJ, others submit amicus brief in Ressa case

Maria Ressa speaks at Rappler’s office in Pasig, Philippines in July 2022. (Photo: AFP/Jam Sta Rosa)

In an effort to deter the legal persecution of trailblazing journalist and Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa and her former colleague Reynaldo Santos, and to protect the public’s right to be informed, three leading civil society organizations, have submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The brief was filed on June 13 by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in partnership with Debevoise and Plimpton LLP. It argues that the criminal convictions of Ressa and Santos for “cyber libel” not only breach the international obligations of the Philippines but betray a press freedom legacy the court has reaffirmed for more than a century.

Ressa, her colleagues, and the online news outlet Rappler have faced a sustained campaign of legal persecution and online violence, with 23 individual cases opened by the government against them since 2018. Ressa and Santos face close to seven years in prison if their convictions for cyber libel, which are currently in the last stage of appeals before the Philippine Supreme Court, are upheld. 

Evan Gershkovich trial date set for June 26
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich speaks with his lawyers before a court hearing in Moscow on April 23, 2024. (Photo: Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)
Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich speaks with his lawyers before a court hearing in Moscow on April 23, 2024. (Photo: Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

As a Russian court on Monday set the beginning of the espionage trial of U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich for June 26, the Committee to Protect Journalists renewed its call to immediately release him and drop all charges against him.

“The start of Gershkovich’s trial comes after he has already spent more than 14 months behind bars for no other reason than his work as a journalist,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator.

It is not known how long Gershkovich’s trial will last, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.


Safety Resources

Need further assistance? Contact us.

Journalists Attacked

Myat Thu Tan

MURDERED

Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

He was arrested on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under a broad provision of the penal code that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news for critical posts he made on his Facebook page. Myat Thu Tan had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, and showed signs of torture.

Myanmar’s military junta has cracked down on journalists and media outlets since seizing power in a February 2021 coup.

In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally