- NBI arrested journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa.
- Maria Ressa was charged with cyber-libel.
- Several journalists posted #DependePressFreedom in support of Maria Ressa.
Several journalists took to social media to show support to their embattled colleague Maria Ressa.
On Wednesday, February 13, journalist and Rappler CEO Ressa was arrested by the agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after serving the warrant of arrest for the charge of cyber-libel. Her warrant of arrest was served at the Rappler headquarters in Pasig City.
Moments after, several journalists took to social media particularly on twitter to denounce yet another attack on media and press freedom. Colleagues from different media companies showed support for Ms. Ressa using the hashtag #DefendPressFreedom.
ABS-CBN broadcast journalist Karen Davila was one of the first to call out the arrest saying it underscores the country’s press freedom and it was a clear harassment of the media.
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) February 13, 2019
She also questioned the grounds of the case saying the charge was based on an article published months before the cybercrime law was passed.
To be arrested for this?? – On May 2012 article by Reynaldo Santos on the late former CJ Renato Corona using an SUV owned by a Wilfredo Keng. Keng filed a complaint at NBI in Oct 2017 or 5 yrs after publication. Article came 4 mos b4 Cybercrime Law was enacted in Sept 2012 https://t.co/61iftfLUo8
— Karen Davila (@iamkarendavila) February 13, 2019
Aside from Davila, GMA journalist Sandra Aguinaldo also threw her support for Rappler’s media head.
Aguinaldo tweeted encouraging words for Ressa saying she should chin up because it will all pass.
— sandra aguinaldo (@sandraguinaldo) February 13, 2019
Another Kapuso journalist who tweeted his sentiment was Raffy Tima.
Tima on his tweet questioned if martial law was already expanded from Mindanao to the whole country because of NBI agent’s threats to Rappler staff.
“We will go after you too.” (Hahabulin din namin kayo!) – allegedly uttered by an NBI agent to Rappler staff recording the arrest of @mariaressa. On what basis? As a journalist, i would like to be enlightened. Last time i checked, only Mindanao is under Martial Law.
— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) February 13, 2019
PTV anchor Jules Guiang also questioned the arrest saying can the law be implemented retroactively.
On the issue of Rappler’s libel case. Rappler created a particular story on May 2012, but the Cybercrime law was passed on September 2012.
Question: Can this law be implemented retroactively?
— jules guiang 🇵🇭 (@JULESguiang) February 13, 2019
Aside from journalists, several celebrities have also shared their disgust over what happened to Maria.
Known Duterte critic Agot Isidro said the current government will go down the history as the worst.
— Agot Isidro (@agot_isidro) February 13, 2019
Another known Duterte critic Leah Navarro also tweeted #DefendPressFreedom and stood by Maria Ressa.
— Leah Navarro (@leahnavarro) February 13, 2019
Bianca Gonzalez also shared her insight lamenting how sad the situation of the country is.
Guardian of democracy pero pinaaresto. Paano na, Pilipinas nating mahal. 😔 #DefendPressFreedom
— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) February 13, 2019
Maria Ressa’s arrest came off the heels of government’s numerous attacks on the online media company. After revoking its license for allegedly violating constitutional provision on foreign ownership, Ressa was also slapped with tax evasion case which she was currently on bail.
Her latest arrest was in connection with the Department of Justice‘s indictment of the cyber-libel case file by businessman Wilfredo Keng regarding a Rappler article in 2012 titled “CJ using SUVs of controversial businessman” during the impeachment trial of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Here are other tweets from journalists and public figures showing support for Ressa.
Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy; it IS democracy. – Walter Cronkite#DefendPressFreedom
— Lynda Jumilla-Abalos (@lyndajumilla) February 13, 2019
UNJUST CASE, UNJUST ARREST
There was absolutely no reason for NBI agents to serve the arrest warrant on @mariaressa past office hours for an alleged cyberlibel crime that antedated passage of the cyberlibel law. #DefendPressFreedom (thread)
— inday espina varona (@indayevarona) February 13, 2019
— Noemi L. Dado (@momblogger) February 13, 2019
History’s lesson is clear. “In any clash between the government and the free press, the government wins in the beginning. But the free press wins in the end.” – Mahfuz Anam, the legendary longtime editor of Bangladesh’s Daily Star (2016) #StandWithMariaRessa #DefendPressFreedom
— John Nery (@jnery_newsstand) February 13, 2019
“A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.”
– Winston Churchill#DefendPressFreedom
— GING REYES (@gingreyes) February 13, 2019
So they filed one case that didn’t fly. So they filed another. And when that looked like it was going nowhere, they filed another (based on an old dismissed one) and today they arrested Maria Ressa. Now tell me that isn’t harassment. #defendpressfreedom
— Bart Guingona (@guingonabart) February 13, 2019
— Nicole Curato (@NicoleCurato) February 13, 2019
With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.
— Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek
— Jeff Canoy (@jeffcanoy) February 13, 2019
We all know what Maria Ressa’s “crime” is: telling the truth about this administration and supporting many other voices rightfully critical of it.
I denounce the continued weaponization of the law. I stand with @mariaressa and Rappler amid the clear attempts to silence them.
— Gideon Lasco (@gideonlasco) February 13, 2019
— Marlon Ramos (@iammarlonramos) February 13, 2019
Duterte has lots to hide, insecure, has criminal to impose a tyranny, and acts as if he is above the law — this are the reasons why his regime is trying to crush @mariaressa and @rapplerdotcom. #DefendPressFreedom
— Tonyo Cruz (@tonyocruz) February 13, 2019
Let’s give our all out support as Lasallians to Rappler. Let’s defend press freedom. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s vote with our feet and stand with Maria Ressa! — Br. Armin Luistro FSC
— DeLaSalle.ph (@OneLaSalle) February 13, 2019
EDITORIAL: In the wake of today's arrest at @rapplerdotcom's headquarters, The GUIDON condemns the administration's most recent attack on the free press and the weaponizing of the Revised Penal Code. #DefendPressFreedom https://t.co/BNXRX1EfWD
— The GUIDON (@TheGUIDON) February 13, 2019
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) February 13, 2019
Nabalitaan natin sa social media na hinainan na ng warrant of arrest si Maria Ressa. This is a clear case of the powerful harassing those whose duty is to keep them in check.
— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) February 13, 2019