Originally published on the Facebook page of NUJP on 13 February 2018.
The arrest of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on the clearly manipulated charge of cyber libel is a shameless act of persecution by a bully government.
It is clear that the Department of Justice perverted the law by charging Maria for an offense allegedly committed before it actually became an offense under the law.
This government, led by a man who has proven averse to criticism and dissent, now proves it will go to ridiculous lengths to forcibly silence a critical media and stifle free expression and thought.
It is clear this is part of the administration’s obsession to shut Rappler down and intimidate the rest of the independent Philippine media into toeing the lines.
It may try its worst but we know it will fail, not for lack of trying but because, as it did during the Marcos dictatorship, independent Filipino journalists will never allow freedom of the press to be suppressed.
Even as we are certain they will hold the line, we stand with Maria and our colleagues at Rappler and urge all colleagues who value the work we do and the independence essential to it to circle the wagons and resist this blatant assault on our right and liberties.
We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to stand with the independent Philippine press in defense of the rights not only of media but of the people. For in suppressing the press it is the people’s right to know that is trampled on.