March 29, 2019
Rappler CEO and Executive Editor, Maria Ressa, was arrested on March 28, as she landed in Manila returning from the USA.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) deplore the arrest of Ressa, which comes just over a month after she was arrested on libel charges.
Maria Ressa got arrested as she disembarked from a flight from San Francisco in Manila on Thursday. She is accused of violating foreign ownership rules and securities fraud. As she was escorted from the airport, Ressa posted a series of tweets including one from inside the police car as she was led away.
The latest charges against Rappler and Ressa come as a result of one of the original cases against the outlet, the contested revocation of Rappler’s license by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These latest charges are the 11th bought against Rappler and Ressa and come after she was arrested in February on cyber libel charges. If she is made to post bail on these latest charges, this will be the seventh time she has posted bail.
In its statement, NUJP said Rappler has clearly become the whipping boy of the Duterte administration as it seeks to silence or intimidate the independent and critical press.
“This intolerant and vindictive government's ham-fisted efforts to humiliate Rappler and its officers and personnel have succeeded only in humiliating itself in the eyes of the world and everyone who values freedom and democracy. Let us all stand by Rappler and the community of independent Filipino journalists in resisting this administration's attempts to muzzle us and, in doing so, silence our people's voices and deprive them of the information they need to decide on their personal and collective futures,” NUJP added.
The IFJ said: “The government-led attack on Rappler and Maria Ressa is a blatant attempt to silence critical voices and control the government narrative in the Philippines. The government of the Philippines cannot simply use to law to restrict the media and press freedom. Journalists across the Philippines will continue to fight this interference and will not be silenced.” – IFJ media release
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