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Philippine news site chief and Duterte critic freed on bail after latest arrest

Maria Ressa. Photograph:( AFP )

Reuters Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines Mar 29, 2019, 12.18 PM (IST)

The head of a Philippine news website known for critical reports about President Rodrigo Duterte was re-arrested at Manila's airport and freed on bail hours later on Friday over charges she had violated foreign ownership rules on media.

Rappler Chief Executive Officer and Time Person of the Year, Maria Ressa, was served an arrest warrant over a libel case live on television last month and spent a night in detention before she was released. She was arrested again on March 29 minutes after arriving from the United States.

Rappler and its officials are now facing 11 cases, said Ressa, who posted bail for the seventh time. The Philippine constitution bans foreign ownership of media but Rappler has said foreigners who invested in its Philippine Depositary Receipts do not have any say in its operations.

Lawsuits against news platform Rappler have drawn global concern about a free and open media in the democratic Southeast Asian country. Media watchdogs said the charges against Ressa were trumped up and aimed at intimidating those who challenge Duterte's rule, in particular his deadly crackdown on illicit drugs.

Story highlights

Rappler Chief Executive Officer and Time Person of the Year, Maria Ressa, was served an arrest warrant over a libel case live on television last month and spent a night in detention before she was released.