Early this morning, CEO of the online news Rappler, Maria Ressa was found guilty of cyber libel.
Some points from the interview after the decision:
“Executive editor is different from Editor in Chief (EIC)
“I appeal to you the journalist in this room, the Filipinos listening to protect your rights. If you don’t use your rights, you will lose them.”
“Freedom of the press, is the foundation of every single right as a Filipino citizen.”
“Investigative journalism is more important today more than ever. Let us do our jobs.”
“It’s like getting a disease, sometimes you’re weak, sometimes you’re strong.”
– Maria Ressa, Rappler CEO
“The motions for travel, it doesn’t mean that she’s restricted, it’s just that she needs permission. And that’s the case with every person who is charged in court. That’s the procedure for everyone, regardless who it is. If you are charged with an offense, every travel will have to be requested from the court.”
“The judge imposed what we Indeterminate sentence of 6 months and 1 day (minimum sentence) to 6 years of imprisonment, that is the sentence. It means if the judgement becomes final, then that is the sentence that will be served. The reason for the range is that, the law gives the person, who is convicted, the eligibility to apply for parole upon satisfying the minimum of the sentence. So here, the minimum of the sentence is 6 months and 1 day, after 6 months and 1 day then person who is convicted can now start applying for parole. And then the upper end of the sentence is 6 years, that the longest a person can be in jail. So the moment the person serves 6 years then that person is out. That’s the indeterminate sentence. No other person will have to impose that, that is what the judge imposed. That can change if we go up on appeal. If we win the appeal, that can be over turned.”
– Atty Ted Te
Reporter: May we know the difference of Executive editor and EIC?
MR: An Executive editor is in charge of sales, tech, strategic direction. I have a very little involvement in the day to day unless it’s a story about terrorism.
Reporter: An Executive editor isn’t exactly an Editor in chief (EIC) as the court seems to suggest?
MR: Yeah, it’s definitely not an editor in chief because it’s more I guess publisher editor. I mean it’s actually, these are some of the things Ted is going to have to look at.
CNN Reporter: Where do you see Rappler going?
MR: I have a first hand knowledge of the abuse of my rights, the violation of my rights. Rappler has been under attacked for 4 years. The mission of Rappler remains the same and we will carry it out with far more, well it can’t be far more ’cause we’ve already thrown everything into this. This is a pivotal moment for the Philippines not just for our democracy but for the idea of what the free press means.
Reporter: How does this impact investigative journalism? The court’s appreciation of Rappler’s referencing of an intelligence report?
MR: I worry about that, because you know I wrote an entire book based on intelligence documents. A lot of those documents are given to me by Philippine intelligence right. Even on the merits of this particular case, the agency that did that intelligence report, is different from the PDEA which is the certification Mr. Keng got. Those were the things we’re verifying.
Watch full interview from NEWS5 below: