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Ressa arrest shows gov’t will only tolerate ‘favorable’ reporting — Business group

/ 03:33 PM February 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The arrest of Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and other actions against her send the message that “only favorable reporting of the government will be tolerated,” a business group said Thursday.

In a statement issued by the Makati Business Club, it expressed concern over the arrest of Ressa in her office last February 13 over a cyberlibel case filed against her and a former researcher.

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READ: Rappler’s Maria Ressa arrested for cyberlibel

“Especially while there are questions about whether the law is applicable, we believe the authorities should err on the side of the freedom of the press that is a bedrock of all our rights and liberty,” it said.

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“This and previous actions taken against Ms. Ressa and her organization could send a message to other journalists that only favorable reporting of the government will be tolerated,” it added.

The group also noted that the “brave and free” press serves as an “ally in the fight against corruption that we and the government espouse in order to encourage investment badly needed to generate employment and wealth creation that is truly inclusive.”

Rappler, who has been critical of the Duterte administration especially through its coverage of the war on drugs, earlier denounced Ressa’s arrest and described it as another attempt to intimidate the media company.

READ: Rappler on Maria Ressa case: Preposterous, baseless 

However, President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no hand in the arrest, adding that he does not even know the businessman who filed the case against Ressa. /ee

READ: Duterte: I don’t know about Ressa’s arrest  

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TAGS: Makati Business Club, Maria Ressa, Philippine News
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