Maria Ressa: The celebrated Philippine news boss enraging Duterte (BBC News)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Editor-in-chief of Index on Censorship magazine Rachael Jolley quoted on BBC News about Maria Ressa, CEO of Philippine online news organisation Rappler, and her recent sentencing of up to six years in prison after being found guilty of cyber libel. Index has previously published work by Miriam Grace Go, news editor at Rappler.

“Rachael Jolley, editor of the Index on Censorship magazine, recalled meeting Ms Ressa at a journalism festival before her name was widely known. Even then, she says she quickly came to view her as an “extraordinarily strong individual to be able to stand up to the government pressure”.”

Read the full article here[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

English PEN and Index on Censorship condemn prison sentence for Filipino journalist Maria Ressa as a “dark day for media freedom everywhere”


Maria Ressa, a former CNN bureau chief and one of four journalists named Time’s Person of the Year in 2018, has today been given a sentence of up to six years in prison by a Filipino court, under a cyber libel law that didn’t even exist when the article in question was published.

Her journalism has been about fighting for the right to criticise power, and to hold her government to account.

Ressa is one of four journalists named Time’s Person of the Year in 2018. Ressa and her co-defendent Reynaldo Santos were found guilty of cyber libel at the Manila Regional Trial Court.

Ms Ressa was sentenced to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 6 years imprisonment and granted bail pending appeal. A fine of approximately $8,000 (P400,000) was also imposed.

Index on Censorship and English PEN condemn this decision which is part of a campaign to silence dissenting voices in the Philippines.

“This campaign is a frightening indictment of the pressures on journalists to stop reporting. We call on those who care about media freedom globally to stand up and take notice. This is not just about one journalist in one place, this has significance for journalism everywhere as part of a trend where we see reporters put under enormous pressures to stop covering stories” said Rachael Jolley, Index editor-in-chief.

Daniel Gorman, director of English PEN, said: “Today is a terrible day for those who care about freedom of expression and a free press, in the Philippines and across the world. This judgement aims to intimidate journalists and writers working across the Philippines. English PEN stands with Maria Ressa, and calls for the government of the Philippines to drop these spurious charges immediately.”

Through the past few years Index and English PEN has worked to bring attention to escalating restrictions on media freedom in the Philippines. Ressa and her team have written for Index on Censorship magazine, and Ressa was a judge at the annual Index on Censorship awards.

Seven further cases remain pending against Ms Ressa. The cases against Ms Ressa, which allege illegal foreign media ownership of her news site and alleged tax offences, are equally spurious, and an act of retaliation by the current administration against her reporting.

Reporting by the Rappler website, which Ressa co-founded as CEO, has exposed corruption and abuses, including the execution of thousands of Filipinos in the name of a war on drugs.

On behalf of her legal team, Amal Clooney said of today’s verdict: “Today a court in the Philippines became complicit in a sinister action to silence a journalist for exposing corruption and abuse. This conviction is an affront to the rule of law, a stark warning to the press, and a blow to democracy in the Philippines. I hope that the appeals court will set the record straight in this case.”

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has characterised the cases against Ms Ressa as an act of “persecution” by a “bully government.”

English PEN and Index on Censorship calls for the government of the Philippines  to drop their cases against Maria Ressa and her co-defendants. We stand with them, along with all writers standing for a free media in the Philippines.

This statement is signed and supported by other organisations including:



Contents: The Big Noise: How Macho Leaders Hide their Weakness by Stifling Dissent, Debate and Democracy

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”With contributions from Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Miriam Grace Go, Tammy Lai-ming Ho, Karoline Kan, Rob Sears, Jonathan Tel and Caroline Lees”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Winter 2019 issue of Index on Censorship magazine looks at the current pack of macho leaders and how their egos are destroying our freedoms. In this issue Rappler news editor Miriam Grace Go writes about how the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, tries to position himself as the man by being as foul-mouthed as possible. Indian journalist Somak Goshal reports on how Narenda Modi presents an image of being both the guy next door, as well as a tough guy – and he’s got a large following to ensure his message gets across, come what may. The historian Jeffrey Wasserstrom considers exactly who the real Chinese leader Xi Jinping is – a man of poetry or military might? And Stefano Pozzebon talks to journalists in Brazil who are right in the firing line of Jair Bolsonaro’s vicious attacks on the media. Meanwhile Mark Frary talks about the tools that autocrats are using to crush dissent and Caroline Lees looks at the smears that are becoming commonplace as a tactic to silence journalists. Plus a very special spoof on all of this from bestselling comedic writer Rob Sears.

In our In Focus section, we interview Jamie Barton, who headlined this year’s Last Night at the Proms, an article that fits nicely with another piece on a new orchestra in Yemen from Laura Silvia Battaglia.

In our culture section we publish a poem from Hong Kong writer Tammy Lai-ming Ho, which addresses the current protests engulfing the city, plus two short stories written exclusively for the magazine by Kaya Genç and Jonathan Tel. There’s also a graphic novel straight out of Mexico.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Special Report”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Will the real Xi Jinping please stand up by Jeffrey Wasserstrom: China’s most powerful leader since Mao wears many hats – some of them draconian

Challenging Orbán’s echo chamber by Viktória Serdült: Against the odds a new mayor from an opposition party has come to power in Budapest. We report on his promises to push back against Orbán

Taking on the lion by Stefano Pozzebon: With an aggressive former army captain as president, Brazilian journalists are having to employ bodyguards to keep safe. But they’re fighting back

Seven tips for crushing free speech in the 21st century by Rob Sears: Hey big guy, we know you’re the boss man, but here are some tips to really rule the roost

“Media must come together” by Rachael Jolley and Jan Fox: Interview with the New York Times’ lawyer on why the media needs to rally free speech. Plus Trump vs. former presidents, the ultimate machometer

Tools of the real technos by Mark Frary: The current autocrats have technology bent to their every whim. We’re vulnerable and exposed

Modi and his angry men by Somak Ghoshal: India’s men are responding with violence to Modi’s increasingly nationalist war cry

Global leaders smear their critics by Caroline Lees: Dissenters beware – these made-up charges are being used across borders to distract and destroy

Sexism is president’s power tool by Miriam Grace Go: Duterte is using violent language and threats against journalists, Rappler’s news editor explains

Stripsearch by Martin Rowson: Putin, Trump, Bolsonaro – macho or… nacho?

Sounds against silence by Kaya Genç: Far from a bad rap here as Turkey’s leading musicians use music to criticise the government

Un-mentionables by Orna Herr: The truths these world leaders really can’t handle

Salvini exploits “lack of trust” in Italian media by Alessio Perrone: The reputation of Italian media is poor, which plays straight into the hands of the far-right politician

Macho, macho man by Neema Komba: A toxic form of masculinity has infected politics in Tanzania. Democracy is on the line

Putin’s pushbacks by Andrey Arkhangelskiy: Russians signed up for prosperity not oppression. Is Putin failing to deliver his side of the deal?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row disable_element=”yes”][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Global View”][vc_column_text]Trying to shut down women by Jodie Ginsberg: Women are being forced out of politics as a result of abuse. We need to rally behind them, for all our sakes[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”In Focus”][vc_column_text]Dirty industry, dirty tactics by Stephen Woodman: Miners in Brazil, Mexico and Peru are going to extremes to stop those who are trying to protest

Music to Yemen’s ears by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Could a new orchestra in Yemen signal the end of oppressive Houthi rule? These women hope so

Play on by Jemimah Steinfeld: The darling of the opera scene, Jamie Barton, and the woman behind a hit refugee orchestra, discuss taboo breaking on stage

The final chapter by Karoline Kan: The closing of Beijing’s iconic Bookworm has been met with cries of sadness around the world. Why?

Working it out by Steven Borowiec: An exclusive interview about workplace bullying with the Korean Air steward who was forced to kneel and apologise for not serving nuts correctly

Protest works by Rachael Jolley and Jemimah Steinfeld: Two activists on how their protest movements led to real political change in Hungary and Romania

It’s a little bit silent, this feeling inside by Silvia Nortes: Spain’s historic condemnation of suicide is contributing to a damaging culture of silence today[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Culture”][vc_column_text]Hong Kong writes by Tammy Lai-ming Ho: A Hong Kong poet talks to Index from the frontline of the protests about how her writing keeps her and others going. Also one of her poems published here

Writing to the challenge by Kaya Genç: Orna Herr speaks to the Turkish author about his new short story, written exclusively for the magazine, in which Turkish people get obsessed with raccoons

Playing the joker by Jonathan Tel: The award-winning writer tells Rachael Jolley about the power of subversive jokes. Plus an exclusive short story set in a Syrian prison

Going graphic by Andalusia Knoll Soloff and Marco Parra: Being a journalist in Mexico is often a deadly pursuit. But sometimes the horrors of this reality are only shown in cartoon for, as the journalist and illustrator show[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Index around the world”][vc_column_text]Governments seek to control reports by Orna Herr: Journalists are facing threats from all angles, including new terrorist legislation[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Endnote”][vc_column_text]Culture vultures by Jemimah Steinfeld: The extent of art censorship in democracies is far greaten than initially meets the eye, Index reveals[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Subscribe”][vc_column_text]In print, online, in your mailbox, on your iPad.

Subscription options from £18 or just £1.49 in the App Store for a digital issue.

Every subscriber helps support Index on Censorship’s projects around the world.

SUBSCRIBE NOW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Read”][vc_column_text]The playwright Arthur Miller wrote an essay for Index in 1978 entitled The Sin of Power. We reproduce it for the first time on our website and theatre director Nicholas Hytner responds to it in the magazine

READ HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Listen”][vc_column_text]In the Index on Censorship autumn 2019 podcast, we focus on how travel restrictions at borders are limiting the flow of free thought and ideas. Lewis Jennings and Sally Gimson talk to trans woman and activist Peppermint; San Diego photojournalist Ariana Drehsler and Index’s South Korean correspondent Steven Borowiec

LISTEN HERE[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Big Noise