Journalist Maria Ressa held at Manila airport on corruption charges

Manila: Maria Ressa, Executive Editor at Philippines based investigative new site named Rappler, was arrested once again on corruption charges by the authorities at Manila Airport on Friday.

Al Jazeera reported that Ressa, who has been arrested for the second time this year, along with her associates is facing 11 cases, including tax and securities fraud charges.

“You cannot harass and intimidate journalists to silence. We’ll stand up and fight against it,” Ressa told the media after posting bail of USD 1,700.

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The Philippines authorities arrested Ressa in February this year on an internet libel charge, for linking a local businessman to illegal activities in a Rappler report published in 2012. The allegations of which were later quashed by Ressa herself.

Ressa, who was named the TIME’s Person of The Year 2018, has been lauded for its strong take on the drug policy or ‘war on drugs’ undertaken by the Philippines government, led by President Rodrigo Duterte, and has been condemned for encouraging thousands of extrajudicial killings by various international organisations and human rights groups.

The Philippines government, in November last year, charged Rappler with corruption charges. According to sources, the Justice Department of the country had ‘found probable cause’ to indict the news site named Rappler and Ressa, over alleged charges of tax evasion.

According to reports, Rappler along with its CEO Ressa failed to file tax returns over a three million USD investment made by the Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, in 2015.

However, the media agency has declared the move as an attempt to curb press freedom in the Southeast Asian country, thereby silencing journalists as well as their independent news coverage.

On Wednesday, former senior police officer Eduardo Acierto, became a target of death threats after submitting a report on Duterte’s economic adviser, Michael Yang, of drug smuggling.

Ressa insisted that the news site is not anti-Duterte, however, adding it is just doing its job to hold the government to account.


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