Maria Ressa compared reporting in the Philippines to being in a war zone in 60 Minutes profile

Last fall, Bill Whitaker profiled the acclaimed Filipino journalist, who is known for her critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The risks of reporting on Rodrigo Duterte
The risks of reporting on Rodrigo Duterte 13:40

A Manila trial court on Monday found high-profile journalist Maria Ressa guilty of cyber libel in a case seen as a test of media freedom in the Philippines. 

"It is a blow, but it is also not unexpected," Ressa said as she left the courtroom.  

The CEO and executive editor of online news site Rappler, Ressa was ordered to pay $8,000 and faces between six months and six years in prison. She is out on bail while she appeals the verdict. Former Rappler staffer Reynaldo Santos Jr. received the same sentence as Ressa. 

Advocates of press freedom see the case as the latest attempt to silence journalists like Ressa, who has been threatened with rape, prison, and death for her reporting on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody drug war. Ressa has previously been arrested twice.

In November, 60 Minutes Bill Whitaker profiled Ressa, who said she refuses to stop investigating the government. 

"Enshrined in the Philippine constitution, which is similar to the United States, is the bill of rights: freedom of expression, freedom of the press. These are enshrined," Ressa told Whitaker. "And yet, freedom of the press has been curtailed."

Reporters Without Borders ranks the Philippines 136 out of 180 countries on its World Press Freedom Index, citing, among other issues, Duterte's "grotesque judicial harassment campaign" against Rappler and Ressa.

Ressa, who spent three decades reporting from war zones, told Whitaker that reporting in the Philippines today is tougher. 

"In a war zone you know exactly where the threats are coming from," she said. "I plan my way in, and we plan our way out, and you're there for a limited period of time. But today's threats are long standing. There's no end to it."

How journalism in the Philippines has changed... 04:20