Maria Ressa’s conviction should matter to everyone who cares about democracy

By Peter Greste, ‘The Guardian’, 15th June 2020

On Monday morning a court in Manila found the pair guilty of “cyberlibel” for a story published in 2012 on the news website Rappler.com that Ressa founded and now leads. The judge released them on bail pending an appeal but, if they lose, they could spend up to seven years in prison.

To reach her verdict, the judge had to accept the prosecution’s breathtakingly thin arguments. First, that the website had violated the cyberlibel law, even though the story was published four months before the law even existed. The judge agreed that Rappler had “republished” the story, when it corrected a spelling error in 2014, thus making it subject to the law. The judge also accepted the prosecution’s theory of “continuous publication”, to get around the fact that the statute of limitations on libel in the Philippines is just one year.

More at The Guardian

The History that James Baldwin wanted America to see

Eddie S. Glaude, Jnr, ‘The New Yorker’, 20th June 2020

Baldwin was hardly naïve about the human capacity for evil, especially in white folk. “If you’re a Negro, you’re in the center of that peculiar affliction,” he said, “because anybody can touch you—when the sun goes down. You know, you’re the target of everybody’s fantasies.” But what shocked him was that white America had killed someone who espoused love, an apostle of nonviolence. King’s death revealed the depths of white America’s debasement and the scope of black America’s peril. “Perhaps even more than the death itself, the manner of his death has forced me into a judgment concerning human life and human beings which I have always been reluctant to make,” he wrote. “Incontestably, alas, most people are not, in action, worth very much; and yet, every human being is an unprecedented miracle. One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become.”

More at The New Yorker