Maria Ressa, the award-winning Filipino journalist who founded the news site Rappler was found guilty on Monday of “cyber libel” for a 2012 story on wealthy businessman Wilfredo Keng. Critics say that the conviction was politically motivated, and a huge setback to press freedom in a country where journalists are increasingly under threat.
The story focuses on Keng’s ties to a former Supreme Court judge Renato Corona, for which Ressa and a former writer for her site, Reynaldo Santos, were released on bail pending an appeal, but could face between six months and six years in prison, according to the BBC.
The “cyber libel” law came into force four months after the article on Keng was published in September 2012. President Rodrigo Duterte has accused Ressa and other journalists who have documented his abuses of power of peddling “fake news”, and his administration has been accused of harassing members of the press several times.