Earlier this week, the US enacted a law barring the entry of foreign government officials who violate journalists’ rights, a law which also applies to their immediate family members.
This law is provided for under US government spending bill signed by Pres. Donald Trump last Sunday.
It denies entry to “foreign officials involved in threatening, wrongfully imprisoning, or otherwise depriving of liberty independent journalists who speak out or publish about official corruption or other abuses, including Maria Ressa and El Faro in El Salvador.”
El Faro (The Lighthouse) is another digital news outfit that was attacked by El Salvador president Nayib Bukele for reporting about alleged corruption and mishandling of the current pandemic.
In light of the new policy, Malacañang spokesperson Harry Roque responded: “We have our own independent institutions and domestic laws that must be enforced and applied to all. Each must learn to respect each other’s domestic policies and intrusion into another nation’s sovereignty must be frowned upon.”
Since January in 2018, 13 complaints and cases have been filed against Ressa and other Rappler directors. Former researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. was also accused in nine criminal cases and was even convicted in one. An appeal was submitted to the Court of Appeals.
If convicted of all charges, Ressa may be jailed for decades.