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Urgent Action update: Journalist officially charged with cyber libel

On 14 May, Maria Ressa, human rights defender and executive editor of online news outlet Rappler, was formally charged in court for one count of cyber libel. Arrested on 13 February, she was released on bail after spending a night in jail. A month later, on 29 March, she was again arrested for allegedly violating the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law, which limits mass media ownership to Filipinos and Filipino-owned corporations. Ressa is also facing four counts of alleged tax-related violations for using financial mechanisms that Ressa argued are not taxable as these do not generate taxable income. Rappler has been a consistent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, and Ressa’s arrest and prosecution appear to be part of a broader campaign to silence critics of the government.

Take action.




Please write urgently in your own words or using the template letter included in English to:


Secretary, Department of Justice
Menardo I. Guevarra
DOJ Building, Padre Faura Street, 
Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines 
(+632) 523 8482 to 98
Salutation: Dear Secretary Guevarra


And copies to:

Director, National Bureau of Investigation  
Dante Gierran 
NBI Building, Taft Avenue, Ermita 
Manila, Philippines 1000 
Salutation: Dear Director


Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

HIS EXCELLENCY MR ANTONIO MANUEL LAGDAMEO Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines 6-11 Suffolk Street SW1Y 4HG Tel: 020 7451 1780 Fax: 020 7930 9787

Please check with your section before sending appeals after the above date.

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