WITH the arrest by the Philippines government of journalist Maria Ressa on Friday, press freedom has taken yet another hit.

Ms Ressa is and has been long time critic of  President Rodrigo Duterte, and she and her website  Rappler have faced a string of criminal charges in recent months that have prompted allegations that Ms. Ressa and her team are being targeted for their work.

After all, Mr. Duterte has also threatened other media houses critical of his regime, including the  Daily Inquirer  newspaper and broadcaster  ABS-CBN .

This is not the first time that Ms. Ressa, in her words, has faced ''the rule of law [...]  [being]  weaponised''

She was first arrested in February on an ''Internet libel'' charge, a move that invited condemnation from press freedom activists around the world.

The latest charges allege that she and her colleagues at Rappler violated  constitutional rules regarding foreign ownership of the media, even though the matter at heart is merely an investment made by the US-based  Omidyar Network  [the latter was established by eBay founder  Pierre Omidyar].

Of course, the reality is that Rappler has been prominent critic of the Philippines president's way of cracking down on the narcotic trade; he has used methods that have eliminated thousands of lives   -to the extent that rights groups allege crimes against humanity.

Ms. Ressa has paid a hefty bail and is for now at relative liberty, but that case comes as a chilling reminder of the manner in which the press and freedom of expression are under fire in so many countries around the world. 

The World Students Society thanks the Editorial Staff.


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