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Amal Clooney and Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC to lead team of international lawyers representing Maria Ressa

Amal Clooney and  Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, barristers at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights, have confirmed that they will act with a team of international lawyers as counsel to renowned journalist Maria Ressa.

Ms Ressa is the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, one of the leading online news organisations in the Philippines. Ms Ressa was formerly a journalist at CNN and has received multiple prestigious awards for her journalism. She was one of four journalists named as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2018 for taking “great risks in pursuit of greater truth”. 

Ms Ressa and Rappler have been targeted by the Filipino authorities following their reporting of public interest stories about human rights abuses and the weaponization of social media in the Philippines under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.  This has taken various forms, including arrests and criminal charges for alleged securities fraud, tax evasion and ‘cyber-libel’ and the attempted revocation of Rappler’s license to operate.

Ms Clooney and Ms Gallagher will lead the international legal team, working with barristers Can Yeginsu and Katherine O’Byrne. The international legal team will also work closely with US counsel at the leading US law firm Covington & Burling LLP, including Ambassador Daniel Feldman, Peter Lichtenbaum and Kurt Wimmer at the firm’s Washington DC office, and will coordinate as necessary with domestic counsel in Manila.

When asked why she decided to take on this case, Ms Clooney stated: “Maria Ressa is a courageous journalist who is being persecuted for reporting the news and standing up to human rights abuses.  We will pursue all available legal remedies to vindicate her rights and defend press freedom and the rule of law in the Philippines.”

Ms Ressa stated: “I have been targeted and attacked simply for being an independent journalist. I am delighted that Amal Clooney and her team will be representing me at the international level to challenge the violations of my rights and those of the media organization I represent.”

Any inquiries relating to this press release can be directed to Kaye Verville: kaye@mollylevinson.com.