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New United States Law Denies Entry of Foreign Officials Persecuting Journalists

The US Secretary of State is now required to deny entry to any foreign government official who persecutes journalists.

In an enacted law on December 27, the Secretary of State will be denied entry to foreign government officials who violate the rights of journalists. The law will also apply to the foreign official’s immediate family members who will try to enter the country.

Maria Ressa GLOBE TATT AWARDS 2011 Awards Night Peninsula Manila

In Section 7031 of the explanatory statement, it stated that ‘The Secretary of State shall apply subsection (c) to foreign government 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 in the Philippines and El Faro in El Salvador’.

Rappler’s Maria Ressa is facing 13 complaints and cases since 2018 and other Rappler directors and researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr. Another media organization that was mentioned in the explanatory statement is El Faro which is a digital news organization in El Salvador that reported different alleged government issues.

Also included in the statement is how the Secretary of State shall submit an update of the action plan that will ‘include details regarding Department of State programs to support the work of civil society activists and journalists and to provide assistance when such individuals are under threat, including specific processes by which such individuals can request assistance from United States embassies. The plan shall also summarize internal protocols and training with all relevant Federal agencies on the protection of such individuals, to include strengthening interagency data-sharing on reprisals against such individuals on a regular and timely basis’.