See More on Facebook

Current affairs

STATEMENT: Asia News Network condemns arrest of Rappler’s Maria Ressa

Ressa was arrested by the Philippines government for libel.


Written by

Updated: February 14, 2019

The Asia News Network notes with concern and alarm the arrest of Maria Ressa, executive editor and CEO of leading Philippine news site Rappler, for pursuing the truth in a case with significant ramifications for society.

Her arrest, on grounds that raise concern, violates the freedom that media organisations need to have, to play their part as a key pillar of functioning democracies. This is particularly important in Asia where systems of democratic representation, accountability and legal recourse are at various stages of nascent development, with much room for improvement and need for safeguarding.

We are seriously disturbed by the manner of her arrest and we urge the Philippine government to refrain from any form of intimidation against the media.

We note Rappler’s statement that the warrant for her arrest dated February 12, 2019 was served close to 5pm on Feb 13, when courts were about to close.

We note that this is based on a complaint filed by a businessman five years after a story was published on Rappler’s website in 2012. The complaint was dismissed by the country’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division in February, 2018 after finding that there was no basis to proceed, given that the one-year prescriptive period had lapsed.

We note that the case was revived eight days later and has now led to her arrest.

Rappler’s story linked the businessman to murder, human trafficking and drug smuggling, which, we acknowledge, the businessman’s lawyers said was wrong and defamatory. It also linked him to a senior judge of the country’s top court.

These are serious charges that need to be examined and the truth ascertained.

Arresting a leading member of the journalistic community without any attempt to show that the allegations made in the article were false raises alarm and leaves us disturbed about the conditions under which members of our fraternity in the Philippines, must operate.

That the arrest follows charges of tax evasion against Rappler, which are still being investigated, is reason for further anguish. It inevitably raises serious questions about whether the charges are politically motivated.

As Asia’s leading alliance of 23 news media, we urge President Rodrigo Duterte and his government to be fair and impartial in the treatment of media organisations in his country. The people of the Philippines, and the media that serves them, deserve no less.

***

The members of the Asia News Network are The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), China Daily (China & Hong Kong), Dawn (Pakistan), Eleven Media Group (Myanmar), Go Go Mongolia (Mongolia), Kuensel (Bhutan), Philippine Daily Inquirer (The Philippines), Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The China Post (Taiwan), The Daily Star (Bangladesh), The Island (Sri Lanka), The Jakarta Post (Indonesia), The Kathmandu Post (Nepal), The Korea Herald (South Korea), The Nation (Thailand), The Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia) The Star (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), The Straits Times (Singapore), The Vientiane Times (Laos), Viet Nam News (Vietnam) Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News (Japan).

Issued: February 14, 2019



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Asia News Network
About the Author: Asia News Network is a regional media alliance comprising 24 media entities.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Current affairs

Rice prices hit 3-year low in Bangladesh

Good harvest, healthy stocks main reasons for lower prices. Rice prices have fallen to a nearly three-year low impacted by downturn in paddy prices at the farmers’ level in the wake of good harvest as well as higher private and public stocks of the grain. The average retail price of coarse rice, consumed mainly by the low-income group, was Tk 33 per kg in city markets yesterday, down 24 percent from a year ago, according to the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM). It is the lowest since August 2016 when the average retail price of the same quality grain was Tk 33.58 per kilogram, show data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The FAO data showed that the prices gradually declined after they soared to Tk 47.78 in September 2017. Just more than a year later in November 2018, the prices fell be


By Daily Star
May 22, 2019

Current affairs

South Korea likely to reject arbitration committee on wartime workers

The Japanese and Korean governments are at loggerheads over the issue of forced labour during the war. The government on Monday demanded that the South Korean government agree to the establishment of an arbitration committee to resolve a lawsuit filed by former Korean wartime requisitioned workers in which Japanese companies were ordered to pay compensation, government officials said. The demand was made based on the 1965 bilateral agreement on the settlement of problems concerning property and on economic cooperation. The government deemed it necessary to shift to an arbitration process involving a third party, which should be more enforceable, as South Korea has rejected bilateral negotiations on the issue. However, Seoul is unlikely to agree to the demand, and the prospects are slim that the strategy will lead to resolving the issue. “We’ve determine


By The Korea Herald
May 22, 2019

Current affairs

Jokowi winner of elections

The Indonesian General Election Commission have named Joko Widodo winner of the presidential elections. The General Elections Commission (KPU) has officially declared President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo the winner of the April 17 presidential election after completing the national vote tally in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The final tally showed that the Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin pair secured 85 million votes (55.5 percent), while the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair garnered 68 million votes (44.5 percent). KPU head Arief Budiman said the losing candidate pair could challenge the election result at the Constitutional Court within three days of the official announcement of the vote tally. If there is no legal challenge, the KPU will officially name Jokowi and Ma’ruf duly elected as president and vice president for the 2019-2024 period on Friday, Arief said. The Prabowo camp ha


By The Jakarta Post
May 21, 2019

Current affairs

Blip on Modi’s social media, communications radar

Has Modi’s social media policy backfired. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to ‘humanise’ himself over the past 10 days or so seem to have boomeranged. At least on social media. For a politician who has championed the use of social media platforms and integrated them into his communications strategy to gain direct access to the people without the “filter” of intermediaries, that’s saying something.  Modi refused to hold even a single Press conference through his five-year tenure as PM and keeping professional media at arm’s length.  But he went on an interview spree in the past fortnight aimed at reaching out to voters in the last two phases of India’s weeks-long general election. Informal, one-on-one interactions with leading television anchors and editors of m


By Ishan Joshi
May 20, 2019

Current affairs

Taiwan becomes first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage

The legislation was passed on Friday. Taiwan made history on May 17 as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, after most lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voted to pass a Cabinet-sponsored bill that gives gay couples the right to get married. The bill, titled Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, cleared the legislative floor at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The new law will take effect May 24, allowing two persons of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register a marriage, with at least two witnesses signing the registration document. Either partner in the marriage will be allowed to adopt the biological children of the other, under the law. However, non-biological children who had been adopted by one partner before the marriage cannot be adopted by the other partner, it states. The New Power Party (NPP) caucus had submitted a motion


By ANN Members
May 19, 2019

Current affairs

Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030

This according to a new report by Standard Chartered bank. Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030 as the country’s per capita income will grow nearly four times throughout the 2020s, according to Standard Chartered — in yet another endorsement of its tremendous growth momentum. The per capita income of Bangladesh will rise to $5,734.6 in 2030. India’s will edge up to $5,423.4 after growing less than three times, according to a research note from Madhur Jha, Standard Chartered India’s head of thematic research, and David Mann, the bank’s global chief economist. Last year, Bangladesh’s per capita income stood at $1,599.8 and India’s $1,913.2. The note highlights the economies around the world that are likely to grow the fastest in the 2020s. The threshold for the list is 7 percent, the approximate growth rate at which an economy can double in size every 10 years.


By Daily Star
May 17, 2019