The conviction of Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos by a Manila Regional Trial Court on 15 June, which is open to appeal, raises serious doubts over the respect for freedom of expression as well as for the rule of law in the Philippines.
Freedom of opinion and expression, online and offline, are essential parts of any democracy worldwide. The European Union will always stand up for these fundamental rights.
The Philippines is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which, in its Article 19, enshrines the right to freedom of expression. We expect the Philippines, like all countries, to uphold its international human rights obligations and protect and promote fundamental freedoms.