ANKARA

A court in Philippines on Monday convicted Filipino journalist Maria Ressa for cyber libel that is defamation or slander conducted on the internet, local media reported.

A former CNN journalist, Ressa heads Rappler.com, a news website critical of President Rodrigo Duterte. She was convicted along with former writer for the website, Reynaldo Santos Jr.

The two could face a jail term of up to six years but can seek remedy from the apex court as the conviction is bailable, according to Rappler.

The case was filed in 2017 by Wilfredo D Keng, a businessman, following a 2012 Rappler story about his links with late former chief justice Renato Corona.

Keng disputed parts of the article that quoted an intelligence report linking him to drugs and human trafficking.

The Philippines National Bureau of Investigation initially dismissed the case because it was outside the statute of limitations. In 2018, however, the justice department made an exception, allowing the proceedings.

The court said Rappler did not verify the information on Keng, and did not publish his side.

The conviction came under a law which came into force in September 2012, four months after the story was published.

The media fraternity has condemned the verdict, terming it an attack on freedom of the press.

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