Maria Ressa at a Manila trial court to attend her promulgation on June 15. Photo: Dante Diosina Jr/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The State Department released a one-sentence statement on Tuesday noting that the U.S. is "concerned" for the future of freedom of expression in the Philippines after a court found journalists Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos guilty of "cyber libel."

Why it matters: The case, which Ressa and activists say is a politically motivated prosecution by the Philippines' government, has been monitored around the world because of its implications for press freedom in the increasingly authoritarian country.

  • Ressa and Santos were sentenced to between six months to six years in prison Monday for publishing an article about a businessman with links to the government in 2012.

What they're saying: "The United States is concerned by the trial court’s verdict against journalists Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos and calls for resolution of the case in a way that reinforces the U.S. and Philippines’ long shared commitment to freedom of expression, including for members of the press," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in the statement.

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