13 February 2019
GEN Stands with Maria Ressa - Condemns the arrest of Rappler CEO
PARIS – Rappler CEO, and The Global Editors Network (GEN) board member, Maria Ressa, was today arrested at the Rappler headquarters in the Philippines.
The arrest is in connection to a story published by Rappler in May 2012, four months before the law that Maria Ressa and Rappler researcher Reynaldo Santos Jr allegedly violated was enacted, according to an article by Rappler. This is the latest alarming move to restrict press freedom in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made his contempt for journalistic coverage clear.
The Global Editors Network condemn the grounds of the arrest. They are an obvious violation of press freedom. GEN stands by Maria Ressa and the Rappler team in these difficult times. They have the full support, and solidarity, of the organisation, and its board members.
“This action to silence and intimidate a courageous journalist should alarm and outrage anyone who cares about free expression across the globe,” said Jim Roberts, President of GEN. “We stand by Maria in the face of government repression and fully support her work, and we respect the courage with which she approaches journalism.”
Maria Ressa is the CEO, and founder of the Philippines news website Rappler, which has chronicled the brutal drug war of President Rodrigo Duterte. She has before been indicted on charges of tax fraud — a case that free speech and civil liberties advocates have warned is part of a wider crackdown on dissent by the Duterte administration. Maria was in December named one of four "Guardians" as Time Magazine's Person of the Year for her resilience in 'The War on Truth'.
Maria joined the board of the Global Editors Network after a unanimous vote in 2016. She has since provided valuable knowledge, and ethical advice to strengthen the Global Editors Network's board decisions.
Maria is also a frequent participant of the Global Editors Network's events. She is scheduled to be a speaker at the GEN Summit, Athens, 13-15 June 2019, in a session called 'The new information disorder: from inventory to solutions', together with Reporters Without Borders.