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

More changes friendly to foreign investors on way in China

China is courting more FDI as their cash reserves run lower. China will roll out more measures friendly to foreign investors, including further removing business restrictions and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses, to foster a more enabling business environment and attract overseas investment. The decision was made on Wednesday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Meeting participants decided to open up more areas. Restrictive measures outside the national and FTZ negative lists on foreign investors’ market access will be consolidated. Restrictions will be lifted on the business scope for those foreign-invested banks, securities companies and fund management firms that are already operating in China. Policies on foreign investment in the automobile industry will be refined, including giving equal treatment in market access to domestic and foreig


By China Daily
October 18, 2019

Current affairs

No to terrorism, communalism

Still smarting from brutal murder of Abrar, Buet students vow to resist repeat of such incidents.  With the murder of Abrar Fahad fresh in everyone’s minds, protesting students of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology yesterday took an oath to resist terrorism and communal forces on the campus. “We will collectively prevent the rise of all sorts of terrorist activities and evil communal forces on the campus. Imbued with morality, we will uproot all the discriminatory cultures and abuses of power,” the students said in unison. “Together we will make sure that no innocent life falls apart and the innocent do not fall victim to torture on this university ground.” Several hundred students took the oath in presence of Buet vice-chancellor Prof Saiful Islam, deans of different faculties and provosts of the halls. The programme was


By Daily Star
October 17, 2019

Current affairs

Typhoon death toll rises to 75; 16 missing

Most of the casualties occurred in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. Search and rescue operations are continuing in eastern Japan after record downpours in the wake of Typhoon No. 19 caused widespread devastation in the region. According to data collected by The Yomiuri Shimbun, as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, the disaster had claimed the lives of 75 people in 12 prefectures and 16 people were missing. The Tohoku region has seen extensive casualties with more than half of the victims killed in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures. In Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, floodwater in the central part of the town has started to recede but some areas are still underwater. The full scale of the damage is yet to be established. In areas where embankments had been breached, search and rescue operations are continuing round the clock, as the survival rate of trapped victims is said to


By The Japan News
October 16, 2019

Current affairs

Prince William pays tribute to Pakistanis who lost their lives to terror

The future King has met the current Pakistan Prime Minister when he was a boy. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, on Tuesday paid tribute to all those who “endured sacrifice and helped build Pakistan to the country it is today”. His remarks came during his first official speech delivered during a reception at the Pakistan National Monument in Islamabad hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew. “For a country so young, Pakistan has endured many hardships, with countless lives lost to terror and hatred. Tonight I want to pay tribute to all those who have endured such sacrifice and helped to build the country that we see today,” said William. He recognised that for “Pakistan’s great potential” to be realised, difficulties will have to be faced and sacrifices made. William also spoke of the “unique bonds” between


By Dawn
October 16, 2019

Current affairs

Personal exchanges cement Sino-US ties, envoy says

Nicholas Platt accompanied US President Richard Nixon on his historic Beijing trip. Over the past four decades the China-US relationship has become too complicated to decouple, and many on both sides are determined to sustain it, a US diplomat and China expert told China Daily in a recent interview. Using an iceberg as an analogy, Nicholas Platt, who accompanied US president Richard Nixon on his historic trip to Beijing in 1972, said in an exclusive interview on Oct 3 that private, nonstate links between China and the United States have grown exponentially in past decades. They are kept intact below the surface despite the “jagged piece of ice” and “sharp edges” seen above the waterline. “There may be people who want to decouple us, but there are a lot of people who don’t, or people who’ve had relationships between” the two countries-organizations,


By China Daily
October 16, 2019

Current affairs

Typhoon Hagibis kills over 50, many still missing

Japan has deployed at least 100,000 security personnel in search and rescue operations. Powerful Typhoon No. 19 devastated parts of eastern Japan as it plowed across the Tokai, Kanto and Tohoku regions and passed over the Pacific Ocean on early Sunday morning. According to a Yomiuri Shimbun tally, as of 3 p.m. on Monday, the typhoon had claimed the lives of 52 people in 11 prefectures, with 168 people injured. Sixteen people are missing. The typhoon caused the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture and the Abukuma River in Fukushima Prefecture to burst their banks, flooding many houses in low-lying areas. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan has released a map of affected areas, indicating the depth of flooding around rivers. Flooding is believed to have reached a maximum depth of about 4.3 meters near the Chikuma River and 5.2 meters near the Abukuma


By The Japan News
October 15, 2019