Aesthetic Distance condemns the recent arrest of Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of online news outlet, Rappler, and a vocal critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.
Maria Ressa was among the journalists named Time Person of the Year 2018, alongside slain Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. She was arrested last Wednesday on charges of cyber-libel. Her arrest was widely condemned by journalists and press freedom advocacy organizations both in the Philippines and around the world. Rodrigo Duterte has denied having anything to do with her arrest.
This recent attack is not the first of its kind under the Duterte regime and is part of his fascist crackdown on press freedom. Several alternative media outlets, like Altermidya, Bulatlat, Pinoy Weekly, and Kodao have been cyber attacked, many resulting in crashed websites and shutdowns. (Malaya Movement).
If you’d like to help defend press freedom and keep out US imperialism (thru the funding of Duterte’s military and police force) from the Philippines, please consider joining me at the National Summit for Human Rights & Democracy in the Philippines in Washington, D.C. from April 6-8. The summit will bring together Filipino journalists, writers, artists, youth and student delegates, professionals, and community leaders to discuss the dire situation in the Philippines especially during this upcoming election season.
Please listen to the latest episode of The Aesthetic Distance Podcast, where I discuss with Johns Hopkins University PhD candidate, Alvin Camba, why the Philippines is the most dangerous country in Southeast Asia for journalists, how coalitions work in Filipino politics and its economy, and why an illiberal democracy could be the near future for Filipinos and Americans, if we’re not careful.
An illiberal democracy means that governments may be elected in free and fair elections and yet routinely violate their citizens’ basic rights. According to Fareed Zakaria, illiberal democracies are becoming more the norm than the exception, which is troubling to say the least. And typically, it is minority groups (ethnic, religious, linguistic, or regional) that bear the brunt of illiberal policies and practices. But government opponents of all stripes run the risk of censorship, persecution, or wrongful imprisonment. Broadly speaking, it's democracies that protect political rights -- elections and pol turnover -- but fail to protect civil rights (equal treatment before the law; freedom of speech; access to services). (Huffington Post)
*The Aesthetic Distance Podcast is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and Soundcloud, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts.