Defend press freedom!
The Philippine Center of International PEN, in solidarity with Rappler and Maria Ressa, condemns in the strongest terms any attempt, subtly or not too subtly, by the state and its instrumentalities and its partisans to threaten, harass, or censor the free and critical press that is the backbone of a democracy. More than ever, with the rise of iron-fisted regimes, an independent and vigilant press has to hold the state and its instrumentalities accountable to the people they always claim to serve, election time or not. We believe, as we declare worldwide through our Charter, that a free and responsible criticism of governments and institutions is imperative if we are to advance as nations towards a more just political and economic order that will let all peoples of the world live in dignity.
We must all hold the line and urge democracy-loving people—Defend press freedom!
Philippine Center of International PEN
Philippine PEN writes in response to the arrest and detention of Maria Ressa, CEO and Founder of the online news platform Rappler.
Ressa was arrested on 13 February 2018 and was detained overnight at the National Bureau of Investigation after she was denied bail.
The charges stem from an article published by Rappler in 2012. The Act under which Ressa was charged was passed four months after the article’s publication.
In 2018 Ressa was named as one of Time Magazine’s People of the Year.