NEW YORK—In response to the arrest today in the Philippines of Maria Ressa, journalist and CEO of the Rappler online news outlet, at the company’s headquarters in Manila following her indictment on cyber-libel charges last week, PEN America released the following statement:

“Maria Ressa, along with her colleagues at Rappler, has fearlessly exposed the abuses of the Duterte government, even in the face of relentless harassment. By arresting her on these absurd and baseless charges, concerning an article published 7 years ago and prior to the enactment of the very law under which she is being charged, the Philippines government has exposed how desperate it is to silence critics and stamp out independent journalism in the country. We call on the Duterte government to immediately drop these charges and release Ressa. Investigative journalism is not a crime.” 

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PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: agasparian@pen.org