Members of the community of cluckity Netizens that orbit the cult of personality of Maria Ressa, CEO of “social news network” Rappler are up in arms. As I write this, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are reportedly serving a warrant of arrest and taking Ressa to custody for offenses related to libel. In response, Ressa’s fans are crying bloody “attack on press freedom”.
But, really, all this has NOTHING to do with “press freedom”. The charges against Maria Ressa have to do with the DISHONEST “journalism” she and her henchwomen are evidently free to propagate. Until now, that is.
One Netizen desperately asks, “Do you think this still has nothing to do with suppressing press freedom, Sir? Help me understand your stance re this.”
To that I say, you need to step further back because the premise that frames your question is flawed. Step back and ask whether “press freedom” is “under attack” in the Philippines to begin with.
The truth is, press freedom was NEVER under threat to begin with. There is no evidence of this dishonest claim propagated by Maria Ressa.
The core issue here is around the charges against Ressa submitted within the framework of the law. Screeching “press freedom” does nothing to mitigate Ressa’s trouble with the law. If Ressa’s supporters want to be smart, they should respond with legal arguments rather than the obsolete street theatrics and crybaby stunts they are likely already planning to mount.