THE HEAD of a Philippine news website that has locked horns with President Rodrigo Duterte was freed on bail on Thursday, a day after her widely condemned arrest on libel charges that critics say is a government effort to bully journalists.

Maria Ressa, the award-winning head of news platform Rappler, was served a warrant live on television at her office on Wednesday, for media watchdogs said were trumped-up charges aimed at intimidating those who challenge Duterte's rule.

''For me it's about two things - abuse of power and weaponisation of the law,'' Ressa said.

''You have to express outrage and do it now. Press Freedom is not just about journalists........Press freedom is the foundation of every single right of every Filipino to the truth,'' she told reporters after posting bail of  100,000 pesos [$1.908]  on Thursday afternoon.

Ressa id accused of  cyber libel  over a  2012  Rappler article, which was updated in 2014, that linked Filipino businessman to murder,  human trafficking and drug smuggling.

Rappler cited information contained in a  2007  intelligence report but did not say which agency compiled it.

 The businessman's lawyer says the information was wrong, the article was defamatory and and his client  wants to clear his name.

A spokesman for the US State Department  emphasised the importance of  freedom of expression and called Ressa ''a highly respected and experienced journalist''.

We hope these charges will be resolved quickly, in a way that fully respects the freedom of the press, allows Ms. Ressa and Rappler to continue to operate freely, and in consistent with the Philippine tradition of a free and independent press,'' the spokesman said. [Agencies]

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Philippines and Democracy continues.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!