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Maria Ressa, Journalist Critical of Duterte, is being arrested again in the Philippines



Maria Ressa, co-founder of an online news-critical criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, has been arrested for the second time when the Duterte administration campaigns against a news agency that has been highly critical of his government.

Recent charges against Mrs Ressa accuse her and members of her news magazine, Rappler, of violating the foreign ownership law of the company. She was arrested on Friday morning in Manila when she came from a San Francisco flight.

"What can you say?" Mrs Ressa said as she walked through the glass doors from the luggage claim area at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila early Friday morning. Flanked by two police officers, she stopped to tell a small group of journalists that she was planning to send $ 1

,700 bail to secure her release.

Her arrest is the latest step in broader degradation of the news media by Mr. Duterte, who has accused journalists of being "spies" and "sons of bitches."

During his administration, Mr. Duterte created a difficult and sometimes hostile environment for journalists. He has leveled out death threats to some journalists and said that no one should be "exempt from murder."

At one point, Rappler was so worried about the safety of his journalists that senior editors discussed whether to install shotgun glass in their Manila newsroom.

Ms. The recent arrest also comes as journalists around the world with increasing pressure from political leaders, who in many cases have power on a wave of populism. When challenged by the news media, some of these leaders have accused journalists of making the news.

"This latest episode is not surprising, and we prepared for it," said Francis Lim, Mrs Ressa's lawyer, in a statement. "But be clear that these harassment will not discourage our customers from performing their duties as journalists. We believe in the rule of law, and it is our glowing hope that we will ultimately win."

Rappler , a frightening exploration and entertainment site, which Mrs Ressa started in 2012, has been the main focus of many of Mr. Dutertes campaign against the news media in the Philippines. Last year the license was revoked and it is currently against 11 charges.

There are also seven outstanding charges against Mrs Ressa herself, including defamation, tax evasion, and violation of complex security laws.

"Rappler has clearly been whipping the boy by the Dutert administration as it seeks to silence or scare the independent and critical press," said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in an email statement on Friday.

Rappler and other news media in the country have doggedly covered a brutal war by Mr. Duty against drug dealers and users who have left thousands of people dead. The coverage has helped rapid international combat.

The list of cases and charges against Mrs Ressa and Rappler can be difficult to keep track of. In the recent case, Mrs Ressa and members of Rappler have been accused of violating a law prohibiting foreigners from financing a large part of a Filipino company.

It is similar to another case against Mrs Ressa and Rappler, brought by the Department of Justice of the Philippines and centers of investment in 2015 by Omidyar Network, a US company owned by eBay's founder, Pierre Omidyar. In that case, Mrs Ressa turned to the authorities in December after an arrest warrant was issued.

The investment from Omidyar is the focus of yet another case brought by the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission and led to the revocation of Rappler's operating license. The charges in that case accuse Rappler of acting as a "securities dealer" rather than a news organization.

In February, Mrs Ressa was arrested at the Manila airport in a case of digital degradation. Afater a judge refused bail, she became the night of detention before they sent bail the next morning.

The latest case also includes charges against Rappler's chief editor Glenda Gloria and people who were in the press release in 2016

Shortly after being sacked for a police note on Friday, Mrs Ressa sent a photo on Twitter of her view inside the vehicle and showed an officer in a helmet and ballless vest.

"Seriously?!?!" She wrote. "Imagine the tax pesos wasted."


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