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Philippines: Further information: Journalist officially charged with cyber libel: Maria Ressa

, Index number: ASA 35/0351/2019

Maria Ressa, human rights defender and executive editor of online news outlet Rappler, was formally charged in court on 14 May for one count of cyber libel. Arrested on 13 February, she was released on bail after spending a night in jail. A month later, on 29 March, she was again arrested for allegedly violating the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law, which limits mass media ownership to Filipinos and Filipino-owned corporations. Ressa is also facing four counts of alleged tax-related violations for using financial mechanisms that Ressa argued are not taxable as these do not generate taxable income. Rappler has been a consistent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration, and Ressa’s arrest and prosecution appear to be part of broader campaign to silence critics of the government.

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