Originally published on CMFR website on 14 February 2019.
THE CENTER for Media Freedom and Responsibility condemns the arrest of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa on cyber libel charges filed several years after the alleged offense was supposedly committed, and before the enactment of the Cyber Crime Prevention Act. The arrest was also made after office hours to prevent her from making bail. Both are clear and undeniable proof of the administration’s malice and manipulation of the law.
The Duterte government has demonstrated its intolerance of criticism and has in other ways undermined press freedom and freedom of expression, fundamental values that benefit not just journalists and the press but every citizen in a democratic society.
We call on the press and media community to condemn this outrage and to stand with Rappler. An attack on the freedom of one journalist or one news organization weakens the capacity of the entire institution to report the truth and is an attack on all of us and on democracy itself.
And we call on the public to stand up for the press that as an institution has served Filipinos in times of disaster and crises, connecting the different groups and communities in a national conversation to protect our freedom and our democracy.