KBP: Maria Ressa's conviction a 'sword over the heads of broadcast journalists'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 11:30 PM | Updated as of Jun 18 2020 05:16 PM

KBP: Maria Ressa's conviction a 'sword over the heads of broadcast journalists' 1
Rappler CEO and journalist Maria Ressa speaks during a press conference after receiving a guilty verdict on cyber libel by the Manila Regional Trial Court on June 15, 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file photo

MANILA (UPDATE)- The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) on Wednesday expressed concern over the guilty verdict against Rappler CEO Maria Ressa and former writer-researcher Reynaldo Santos over a cyber libel case.

In a statement, the KBP said the ruling negatively affects the group's initiatives to decriminalize libel.

"We believe that the long-sought for decriminalization of libel is to prevent the use of libel cases to inhibit journalists from doing their duty," the group said.

KBP also said the decision has created a "sword over the heads of broadcast journalists" especially with the use of technology and the Internet in broadcasting.

"This hangs like a sword over the heads of broadcast journalists in this day and age, when, with digital technology and the Internet, radio and television content or programming, are also carried live, and archived, over social media and other IP platforms," KBP said.

KBP, likewise, urged its members to always be conscientious in performing their duties in light of recent developments.

"Finally, the court’s decision on the Maria Ressa case is not only about press freedom but also about media accountability. In this light, we urge our members to be conscientious in performing their duties by getting the truth and reporting it responsibly in accordance with time-honored journalism standards. That is the best way we can preserve the freedom of the press," it said.

A Manila court on Monday sentenced Ressa and Santos to at least 6 months and up to 6 years in prison over a 2012 story that linked businessman Wilfredo Keng to alleged illegal activities.

News website Rappler and Ressa are also facing charges of tax fraud, violation of the Securities Regulation Code and the Anti-Dummy Law among others.