World Editors Forum Condemns ‘Continued Targeting’ of Maria Ressa
The World Editors Forum on Friday, 29 March, strongly condemned the arrest of senior Philippines journalist Maria Ressa, stating that she is an example to all those who believe in the ideals of journalism.
Ressa was arrested earlier in the day, on a fraud charge, her second detention in what press freedom advocates have said is retaliation for her news site's criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“The continued targeting and harassment of Ressa, her staff and directors, using the Philippines legal system, is a clear attempt to silence her and Rappler.com, the independent news operation she runs,” said a statement issued by the World Editors Forum.
Ressa faces seven active legal cases, and there are 11 cases overall against Rappler and its staff. All these cases were reportedly filed in the 14 months since the Securities and Exchange Commission first tried to shut down the news website.
The Forum urged editors and journalists across the world to support Ressa and her team.
“Their bravery and resolve to keep doing their job, in the face of unprecedented pressure, is an example to all who believe in the ideals of journalism and its mission to hold power to account,” the statement said.
‘Violation of Constitution’
The Philippines police officers served the warrant of arrest the moment Ressa deplaned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1. Police officers took Ressa and her lawyer on board their police car.
Ressa said she would immediately post bail as she was being escorted to the police car.
She also tweeted saying that the arrest was 'insane' and a violation of the constitution.