Press Freedom Defense Fund Issues Statement on the Arrest of Maria Ressa

First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund condemns the arrest of Maria Ressa, the executive editor and founder of Rappler, the Philippine news site.

Ressa was arrested in Manila Wednesday February 13, 2019 by Philippine authorities in connection with a cyber libel case filed by the Justice Department of the Philippines.

The arrest is just part of a long-running campaign of harassment against Ressa and Rappler by the regime of Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines. Duterte has been abusing the judicial system of the Philippines in an effort to silence Ressa and Rappler.

The Press Freedom Defense Fund is proud to support Maria Ressa. In December 2018, the Press Freedom Defense Fund and the Committee to Protect Journalists announced the creation of a partnership for a fundraising campaign supporting Maria Ressa and Rappler. The new partnership is designed to help pay the legal expenses for news organizations and journalists threatened because of their work. Additional support has been pledged by Reporters Without Borders and The International Center for Journalists.

We join with our partner, the Committee to Protect Journalists, in calling for Philippine authorities to immediately release Maria Ressa and drop all pending charges against her.

James Risen
Director, Press Freedom Defense Fund

About the Press Freedom Defense Fund

The Press Freedom Defense Fund is part of First Look Media, the media company founded by Pierre Omidyar. The PFDF provides essential legal support for journalists, news organizations, and whistleblowers who are targeted by powerful figures because they have tried to bring to light information that is in the public interest and necessary for a functioning democracy.

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