Head of news site that criticised President Duterte is arrested for libel in the Philippines

Mail Online | 2/13/2019 | Chris Dyer For Mailonline;Associated Press
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An award-winning journalist who heads up an online news site that has been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte was arrested today.

Maria Ressa was taken into custody at her Rappler office in Manila over a libel complaint described as 'politically motivated'.

Duterte - Journalists - Stories - Campaign - Thousands

Duterte has openly lambasted journalists who write unfavourable stories about him, including his anti-drug campaign that has left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead.

The complaint from a businessman was condemned by Amnesty International as 'brazenly politically motivated'.

Duterte - Government - Arrest - Step - Response

Duterte's government said the arrest was a normal step in response to the complaint.

Rappler Inc., the news site which Ressa heads, said National Bureau of Investigation agents served the warrant late this afternoon, making it difficult for Ressa to apply for bail, and escorted her from the office to NBI headquarters.

Ressa - Rappler - Researcher - Reynaldo - Santos

Ressa and a former Rappler researcher, Reynaldo Santos Jr., were indicted recently, the Department of Justice said.

Speaking to reporters after her arrest, the veteran journalist, who is now CEO and executive editor, said she was 'shocked that the rule of law has been broken to a point that I can't see it'.

Footage - Facebook - Party - Officials - Ressa

Footage streamed on Facebook showed plain-clothes party officials speaking with Ressa, while several of the site's journalists live-tweeted what was happening.

She said in a statement: 'We are not intimidated. No amount of legal cases, black propaganda, and lies can silence Filipino journalists who continue to hold the line,.

Acrobatics - Government - Journalists - Pettiness - Night

'These legal acrobatics show how far the government will go to silence journalists, including the pettiness of forcing me to spend the night in jail.'

Rappler said the businessman filed the libel complaint five years after the article appeared in 2012, and the law under which Ressa was charged by the government, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, did not go into effect until months after the article's publication.

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The article included allegations that the...
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