Rappler CEO Maria Ressa says arrests intended to shut up news site | News | DW | 02.04.2019

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Rappler CEO Maria Ressa says arrests intended to shut up news site

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa's latest arrest has taken the situation "from the ridiculous to the absurd," she told DW. The former-CNN correspondent has reported critically on the Philippine government's drug war.

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DW News Asia - April 2

Maria Ressa, founder of the Philippines' online news site Rappler, said the multiple legal proceedings and arrests were all part of the official attempt to shut Rappler up. The former CNN correspondent is facing charges ranging from tax evasion to libel.

"I spent most of yesterday running in and out of four different courts," Ressa told DW on Tuesday. "I mean it's gone from the ridiculous to the absurd."

The latest charges against Ressa and six other directors are for alleged violation of the Securities Regulation Code of the Philippines.

Rappler has been charged with violating constitutional limitations on ownership and control of mass media entities by accepting funds from foreign investor Omidyar Network. Only Filipino citizens can own media entities in the South East Asian nation.

"Arrested on Friday. A new arrest warrant on Monday. 8th time to post bail. And the week's just starting!" Ressa said.

Rappler reports on drug war

Ressa set up Rappler on Facebook in 2012 as an online-only news outlet.  Some 90 percent of people in the Philippines are on Facebook, and critical reports on President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war quickly drew the administration's attention, and anger. Editor-in-Chief Ressa said  the charges and lawsuits against her and her colleagues now total 11 over the course of 14 months.

However, Ressa said she had no thoughts of giving up: "That actually shows you in action, political harassment and attempts to intimidate and silence," she said. "All this does is make us more resolute to continue doing the stories that need to get done."

DW is part of a global alliance of newsrooms called the One Free Press Coalition which has called Ressa's case one of the ten most urgent press freedom cases in the world.

jm/js (Reuters, AP)

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