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Post by party animal - not! on Sat 23 Nov 2019, 11:03

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party animal - not!
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Post by annemarie on Sat 23 Nov 2019, 15:06

Amal Clooney on Maria Ressa

‘She is a journalist who has chosen to risk her life to do her job and we are all better off as a result’

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 Amal Clooney
Amal Clooney is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London, specialising in international law and human rights. Here, she nominates journalist Maria Ressa, who in 2012 cofounded Rappler, one of the first multimedia news websites in the Philippines.
Maria Ressa is 5ft 2in, but she stands taller than most in her pursuit of the truth. Like any journalist in the Philippines, she has two choices: toe the government line and be safe; or risk her life to do her job. She has chosen the latter, and we are all better off as a result.

Maria is a Filipino-American woman who became CNN’s bureau chief in south-east Asia. Seven years ago, she teamed up with three female colleagues to set up the online news website Rappler. And very quickly it made waves.
Rappler is now one of the most influential sites in the Philippines, and, like any responsible journalist, Maria has been critical of the government’s record. Rappler has published reports on corruption by President Duterte’s administration, his weaponisation of social media to silence critics, and his support for death squads that have reportedly murdered more than 27,000 Filipinos in the name of a war on drugs. The authorities have responded with the full weight of the state. Duterte has vilified Maria’s reporting as “fake news”. He has helped amplify online attacks against her, and Rappler at one point had its operating licence revoked.

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Duterte’s administration is now pursuing Maria through a series of prosecutions that seek to criminalise alleged sales of her company’s stocks to a foreign entity, and directly target her reporting with charges of criminal libel. She now faces a sentence of up to 63 years behind bars. According to Maria’s local lawyers, this is the first time in recent history that such laws have been used to target a journalist in one of Asia’s oldest democracies. But it is a sign of things to come.
This is why, Maria has told me, she has to defend herself against the charges. When I first met her, she was out on bail – as she is today – speaking at a conference in New York. When she asked me to act as her lawyer, I asked whether there was any judge in the Philippines who could be fair and independent enough to acquit her. She was not sure. I asked whether anyone other than Duterte would have the power to pardon her? They did not. Despite these odds, she went home. And I took the case. Because, as Maria explained, she is “holding up the ceiling” for anyone else who dares to speak.

Doing so is already dangerous. The UN has found that there has been a “deterioration of the human rights situation” under Duterte, including through the repeated targeting of journalists. The president has called journalists “spies” and warned that they are “not exempted from assassination”. If Maria, a US citizen, can now be locked up for doing her work, the message to other journalists and independent voices is clear: be quiet, or you’ll be next.
Maria’s struggle is one that defines our times. Data gathered in the last few years shows more journalists being imprisoned and killed than at any time since records began, threatening the very foundations of democracy and a free society. Authoritarian leaders have every advantage over those they try to intimidate, yet people like Maria are fighting back.
Maria is speaking truth to power. She is holding up the ceiling for others. If it comes crashing down, I will do all I can to get her out.

annemarie
Casamigos with Mr Clooney

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Post by Donnamarie on Tue 26 Nov 2019, 04:20

The American news show ‘60 Minutes’ did a segment on Maria Ressa a few weeks ago. Amal was mentioned in the piece as a lawyer helping her defense. Ressa is an incredibly brave reporter for taking on Duarte and his corrupt administration.
Donnamarie
Donnamarie
Clooney, Clooney, Clooney

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