Rappler CEO Maria Ressa indicted on cyber-libel charges

PHILIPPINES — Rappler chief Maria Ressa’s arrest over alleged “cyber-libel” charges in the Philippines on Wednesday reverberated around the globe.

The New York Times’ headline: Maria Ressa, Philippine journalist critical of Rodrigo Duterte, is released after arrest.

“The message that the government is sending is very clear and someone actually told our reporters this last night: be silent or you’re next.”

Ressa, now out on bail, was indicted together with Rappler for cyber libel over a 2012 article that linked businessman Wilfredo Keng to drug smuggling and other crimes as well as his alleged ties with late ousted chief justice Renato Corona.

Keng denied any wrongdoings.

The NBI has dismissed Keng’s 2017 cyber libel complaint in 2018 due to a lapsed 1-year statute of limitation for libel.

Ressa’s detention sparked massive worldwide outcry.

United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard tweeted the arrest: “Another terrible nail in the coffin. Philippines Maria, you can count on us #pressfreedom.”

The National Democratic Institute condemned the Philippine government’s efforts to quell press freedom.

Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright said the Philippine government’s act against Ressa must be condemned by democracies of the world.

“Press freedom is the foundation of every single right of every Filipino to the truth, so that we can hold the powerful to account,” Ressa said.

“We will not duck. We will not hide. We will hold the line. And you being here, you standing witness, you asking tough questions. Journalists and citizens. How we all derive our rights from each other. This is incredibly important for us in the Philippines today.”

Filipino resistance organization — the Malaya Movement is calling on the US government to stop sending tax dollars to support the tyrannical moves by the Duterte regime

President Rodrigo Duterte denied on Thursday any involvement in the arrest of the veteran journalist, and that he has no interest in punishing journalists who challenge his rule despite his open repeated verbal attacks on the Philippine and international press that he calls fake news outlet.

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