UP STATEMENT ON THE FEB 13 ARREST OF MARIA RESSA
During the 152nd Regular Meeting of the University Council of UP Diliman this morning, the body joined the voices condemning the arrest of Rappler's Maria Ressa.
The body formally adopted the earlier statement released by the UP College of Mass Communication, which now reads:
The University of the Philippines Diliman condemns the latest attack on freedom of speech and of the press by the government.
The early evening arrest of Rappler’s CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa shows a clear intent to harass and intimidate. In true martial law era fashion, the arrest warrant was served after office hours preventing the journalist from immediately filing bail.
We call on the public to protect our fundamental right for a free press. For many years, the UP-CMC, through its Journalism Department, has fought for the decriminalization of the libel law, which has time and again been used to harass and threaten journalists, who are merely doing their work by reporting the truth.
The current administration’s intolerance of diverse and critical voices shows its low regard for the observance of democratic principles.
A free press is fundamental to a democratic society. A free press serves as a faithful chronicler of contemporary events, a platform for a multiplicity of voices to be heard, and, more important, the public’s watchdog of inept, abusive and corrupt governance. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to seek out and report news/information and hold those in power to account. With the same effort with which the press should seek the truth and report it, any attempt to muzzle its ability to do so should be vigorously resisted.
Broadcast journalist Ms. Jessica Soho
Photos courtesy of the CMC Alumni Association