Human Rights


The journalist Maria Ressa is charged with “cyber libel” – We wrote a letter to the Philippine President

The Philippine journalist and 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Maria Ressa is facing decades of imprisonment for trumped-up charges regarding so-called “cyber libel”. She has been dealing with judicial harassment for many years now – an attempt of the state to silence independent and investigative journalism and impede public interest reporting.

This is why I have initiated a letter – signed by many MEPs including chairs and / or vice chairs of the Human Rights, International Trade and Foreign Affairs committees – to the country’s President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and its Justice Minister, Jesus Crispin Remulla. In this letter, we urge the new Philippine government to honour its recently reaffirmed commitment to respect independent media. Maria Ressa’s appeal in her case should no longer be denied and the charges against her be dropped. We will be watching closely!


Maria Ressa is co-founder and CEO of the Philippine online news platform Rappler. Rappler has i.a. become notable by covering the former president Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called “war on drugs”, in the course of which, according to Human Rights Watch, more than 12000 Filipinos were killed, mostly urban poor. Killings continue since the new government took office.

Maria Ressa and other journalists and directors of Rappler have been charged with so-called “cyber libel” and other alleged violations of the law in several cases. Lately, the Court of Appeals refused her appeal and Motion for Reconsideration. Her sentence has been increased to six years, eight months and 20 days.


On October 25th, Maria Ressa got an extension to file her appeal until November 24th.

Further reading:

The situation in the Philippines: My plenary speech

“Death of democracy by a thousand cuts” – My InstaLive with Maria Ressa

Adopted: Urgency on the human rights situation in the Philippines – and it created quite some reactions in the country

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