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Journalists body condemns the arrest of Philippine's Maria Ressa

IANS  |  New York 

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the arrest of Maria Ressa, the of news portal Rappler, who was arrested earlier on Wednesday in for an alleged "cyber libel" case.

"Freedom of the press is an essential pillar of democracy and Human Rights. The arrest in the of Maria Ressa, of the news website Rappler, is an alarming development," said in a statement to the media

It also called on the government to "immediately release" the and "drop all charges" against her, news reported. Rappler's investigative report linked Keng to alleged drug and human trafficking.

CPJ's said that "the arrest of is an outrage", adding that "she should be freed immediately and the government needs to cease its multi-pronged attack on Rappler, its talented leader,

The organisation said on Wednesday the letter was launched after its board of directors, made up of influential journalists, approved an exceptional resolution in a meeting held at their

Ressa was arrested in her office at the headquarters in Manila, for a story published in May 2012 about

The Justice Department of the filed charges of "cyber libel" against Rappler, Ressa, as the portal's CEO, for the story published in 2012.

Three Justice Department prosecutors ruled in Keng's favour in January even though Keng filed his complaint five years after the report was published, even though the statute of limitations established by Philippine law for a defamation charge is only one year.

has been very critical of the administration of Philippine However, this not the only case pending against Ressa.

Last November, an arrest warrant was issued against her on five charges of alleged tax evasion. Ressa had posted bail at the time and the case is still pending trial.

The Philippine has made no secret of his hostility towards Rappler, accusing it of being financed by the CIA and banning its reporters from the presidential palace in February 2018.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 14 2019. 11:36 IST