'Hold the line,' Maria Ressa says after posting bail in Manila

Posted February 14, 2019 12:28 a.m. EST

— A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

The Philippine government is on a crusade to silence Rappler, a pioneering news website that has challenged the government's policies and claims.

On Wednesday the site's exec editor Maria Ressa was arrested in connection with dubious "cyber libel" charges. She spent the night in jail and arrived in court for bail proceedings on Thursday morning in Manila. According to Rappler's coverage, she posted bail and the court issued a release order.

Journalists and press freedom advocates are rallying around Ressa, believing that Rodrigo Duterte's harassment of her website has hit a new low. NYU's Jay Rosen said Wednesday that Ressa is "perhaps the most important free press figure in the world right now."

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What's at risk

Ressa (who ran CNN's bureau in Manila before launching Rappler) is "one of the most optimistic and energetic people I've ever met," CPJ's Steven Butler wrote in this column. "She conveys an infectious enthusiasm for her craft and profession -- digging deep and reporting the news."

Butler urged people who believe in the power of a free press to "make a big noise" about what's going on -- Not just in The Philippines, but across Asia, "where press freedom is in retreat."

Ressa sometimes ends her speeches by saying "we will hold the line." She said it again on Thursday right after being released. "When I look back a decade from now," she said, "I want to make sure that I have done all I can. We will not duck. We will not hide. We will hold the line."

That's what this moment is about...


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