Maria Ressa, a Philippine Free-Press Fighter
(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- In June a judge ruled on the charge, which can be initiated when a party who believes he’s been defamed requests a prosecution. The ask had come from businessman Wilfredo Keng, who said Rappler defamed him when the online news site cited a report about his alleged links to drug smuggling in a story.
Ressa is appealing the verdict, which critics of President Rodrigo Duterte say is an example of political persecution. He’s denied any role in the case, with his spokesman calling it the result of “bad journalism” and “bad lawyering.”
Ressa has won wide international praise for investigations of alleged police abuses in the president’s anti-drug efforts. She’s carried on despite what journalism advocates say is a campaign of official intimidation, including a tax evasion case and a claim by regulators that financial support Rappler received violated a ban on foreign ownership of media. Free on bail, she’s fighting all those allegations—and still publishing.
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