[Statement] DAKILA condemns the arrest of Rappler’s CEO and executive director Maria Ressa

We at DAKILA ardently condemn the arrest of Rappler’s CEO and executive director Maria Ressa that the NBI agents enacted earlier today.

From the tax evasion filed against her to being arrested today for cyber libel, this administration has once again exhibited its fear on strong, powerful women, its aversion to critical individuals who question the government, and its obvious affronts against our truth-bearers — the media.

Ressa’s arrest was all too malicious — carried out at a time when the courts were already closed, during the time when Rappler emboldened its campaign drive against fake news in preparation for the election period. Moreover, Ressa’s supposed cyber libel violation was over an article published on their site in May 2012 — four months before the Cybercrime Law was enacted.

The circumstances by which the politically-motivated arrest was enacted just go to show that this administration will exhaust all means to put Ressa behind bars to silence her. It shows how this administration brazenly bends and stretches the law to intimidate, persecute, harass, and attack all critical members of the press and independent media outfits, dissenters, and anyone whom this administration deems as threat.

This aggression is no longer about Ressa and Rappler. This is an attack to the entire watchdogs of our society and to the public’s paramout right to truth and information. Ultimately, when our government gets to attack the fourth estate, we are letting them attack the very foundation of our democracy.

In this crucial of times when the government capitalizes on blatant lies to silence its targets, now more than ever do we need our heralds of truth — the bona fide media.

Let us continue to #DefendPressFreedom. Let us defend it at all cost.

#StandWithRappler #StandWithMariaRessa #StandWithPhilippinePress

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