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Home / World / Maria Ressa unveiled Dutertes drug war, now she is in jail in the Philippines

Maria Ressa unveiled Dutertes drug war, now she is in jail in the Philippines



While the government was not shy about its intention to prosecute both traders and users, hard data on the number of killings were often hard to come by. An indispensable source of information for both the international media and readers in the Philippines was the up-and-coming news site Rappler, which now faces a trade-off with the government with which it has studied.

Rapper boss Maria Ressa will land in Manila on Sunday. There, supporters fear they could be arrested after she and her company were formally charged this week for multiple tax evasion. According to the critics, the policy is politically motivated and silenced by independent media in the Southeast Asian country.

The formal allegations carry a potential prison sentence of 1

0 years under Philippine tax law.

In January, the Filipino Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) temporarily suspended rapper registration on the basis of the country's constitutional oversight of foreign property laws.

The Filipino officials claim that Rappler and Ressa did not declare this $ 3 million in 2015 for tax returns from an investment by the Omidyar Network, a fund founded by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar.

At that time, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the charges a "direct attack on the freedom" of the press. Meanwhile, the rights group Amnesty International claimed it was "an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism."

Award-winning journalist Ressa, who previously served as head of the CNN office in Manila, defended Rappler's ownership structure as "100"% Filipino "and claims that the charges against her company are politically motivated.

"I no longer have synonyms for the word" ridiculous. "The basis for this case is that Rappler is considered a securities trader, and I'm definitely not a stockbroker," Ressa told CNN on Thursday after the news broke was broken over the indictment.

Shawn Crispin, representative of CPJ Southeast Asia, said the charges were a "blatant form of legal harassment" and underscore that President Rodrigo Duterte has been desperately trying to suppress his critical coverage of his government.

Duterte's office has denied that he is involved in the persecution of Rappler, but the president had previously sparred with the company's employees and Ressa and the reporter Pia Ranada from Malacanang Palace, his official residence, over his reporting

Bradrad's government personally blocked [19659003BradAdamsAsien-DirectorofHumanRightsWatchoffershisfall"adeterrentmessagetojournalistsandhumanrightactivists(inthePhilippines)toutingtheirsuicidecampaign"

Drug War

At least 5,000 people were killed as a result of the Duterte drug war, its landmark and its most controversial policy. However, this number is the official police census, and the opposition legislators and legal groups estimate that the actual death toll could be tens of thousands.

The victims included children and innocent people, as well as ordinary drug users and extrajudicially executed offenders.

Among the Filipino media, Rappler in particular focused on the human dignity of the drug war and often denied the official death toll issued by the government as part of the social media campaign #RealNumbersPH, a self-described attempt to counteract calls for a " wrong story "about the war on drugs.
This has drawn criticism from both supporters of the President and Duterte himself, who has had an uncomfortable relationship with the press since his appointment in May 2016
Prior to his inauguration, Duterte defended the notoriously high death toll of journalists who worked in the Philippines as entitled, and accused the media of being corrupt.

"Just because you're a journalist, you're not exempt from murder if you're a son of a bitch," said Duterte in comments that were quickly denounced by press groups. "Freedom of expression can not help you if you did something wrong."

In the first two years of the Duterte government, twelve journalists were killed, in a similar time higher than any other president, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

In the recent press freedom index, the Philippines dropped six places to 134 out of 180 countries. The authors of the report warned that the "dynamics of the media … was tested by the emergence of a leader who wants to show him is all powerful."

Dangerous work

Journalists, Those who oppose the official reports on the drug war in the Philippines and overseas have been confronted by supporters of Duterte who are organizing online harassment on Facebook and other platforms to prosecute media that criticize the president.

Ressa has previously highlighted the impact of Facebook on disseminating disinformation and attacks on journalists on the Internet, saying that this has become a key policy for the Duterte government.

"We were the first two and a half years before the United States started talking about disinformation, and we saw through our partnership with Facebook that we saw these exponential attacks on social media starting in July 2016. That same month , in which the drug war began, she said to ReCode last week.

"In August 2016, I shared this information with Facebook, saying that's really alarming. These people are aimed at anyone who attacks, who asks questions about the drug war. The drug war began in July 2016. It is target group journalists. It addresses all persons who have criticized President Duterte. These attacks are abominable. It brings out the worst of human nature. "

Facebook, however, became more attentive to its role in spreading disinformation in the US and the US In Europe, the social network was also flatly criticized for not doing enough to monitor its platform in Asia Facebook and its affiliate WhatsApp have been accused of authorizing the distribution of hateful and dangerous content in countries such as Myanmar and India.

Ressa was abroad when the charges against Rappler were first announced, but she swore to Even if this comes from a prison cell,

"In many ways, the government's crackdown on Rappler has made it very clear who we are, what our identity is, and our young reporters, the Locating how clear and necessary our mission is today. "Ressa told CNN last month.

" Our Democracy is in transition … The mission of journalism has never been as necessary as it is now and we will continue these stories. "

CNN's Joshua Berlinger and Euan McKirdy contributed to the coverage.


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