Rep. Bera Statement on Conviction of Philippine Journalist
Representative Ami Bera, M.D., Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, made the following statement:
“The recent conviction of Philippine journalist Maria Ressa is a blow to journalistic freedom in the Philippines and around the world. It is incredibly important that journalists be able to operate freely and independently, whether in the United States or abroad,” said Chairman Bera.
“I’ve sought to champion closer ties between the United States and the Philippines. I am proud of the vibrant Filipino-American community in my district, and so I know how important the relationship is between our people and our nations. But that partnership will only be at its’ best if both countries hold true to their democratic values. Ms. Ressa’s conviction was based on a questionable libel law which may violate international standards for its jail time provisions. To retroactively apply that law to articles written before its passage in order to target Ms. Ressa, a prestigious journalist and winner of multiple international awards, and her website Rappler, is a step in the wrong direction.”