Duterte continues crackdown on free press with arrest of Maria Ressa

In the Philippines, protests erupted in Manila this week following the February 13th arrest of award-winning Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. Ressa is former bureau chief for CNN, and CEO of the online news site Rappler, one of the few independent news outlets in the Philippines.

Rappler has been highly critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, in particular of his extrajudicial killings of drug users. In return, the Duterte government has repeatedly hauled Maria Ressa and her news site into court for everything from purported tax evasion to being “owned by Americans.”  The latest charge is cyberlibel.

Ressa says her arrest is about the government’s “abuse of power and weaponization of the law.” Press freedom organizations around the world have condemned her arrest as part of Duterte’s broader crackdown on the free press.

Ressa is out on bail, due in court on March 1st.

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