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Dangerous precedent for netizens: Rappler paints doomsday scenario after Ressa’s cyber libel conviction

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Rappler has called the conviction of its chief executive officer, Maria Ressa, for cyber libel a “dangerous precedent” that will affect not only journalists but netizens.

In a statement Monday (June 15), Rappler said Ressa’s conviction “marks diminished freedom and more threats to democratic rights.”

RELATED STORY: Ressa found guilty of cyber libel

“Today’s verdict sets a dangerous precedent not only for journalists but for everyone online. It weakens the ability of journalists to hold power to account as the one-year prescription period for libel is extended to 12 years,” Rappler said.

The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 found Ressa and former Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. guilty of cyber libel over a 2012 article linking businessman Wilfredo Keng to human trafficking and drug smuggling.

The court, however, said Rappler has no liability as a company.

Ressa and Santos will post bail but they were ordered to pay Keng P200,000 in moral damages and P200,000 in exemplary damages.

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