Makati Business Club expresses concern over Maria Ressa’s arrest
MANILA, Philippines – A free press is good for business.
The group said the economy will benefit from good reporting, as it will combat corruption in government.
“A brave and free press is an ally in the fight against corruption that we and the government espouse in order to encourage investment badly needed to generate employment and wealth creation that is truly inclusive,” the MBC said.
The MBC is a non-stock, non-profit organization composed of senior executives of the country's top corporations.
Moreover, the business group expressed concern over the questionable circumstances of Ressa's arrest.
Ressa was arrested late afternoon on February 13 by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents in civilian clothes past regular court hours. (READ: ‘We’ll go after you’: DOJ probes threat of NBI agent vs Rappler reporter)
Moreover, the NBI did not provide the information sheet which was supposed to contain bail details.
Ressa was only able to post bail the following day because Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court executive judge Allan Ariola refused to process her bail the night of her arrest.
“Especially while there are questions about whether the law is applicable, we believe the authorities should err on the side of the freedom of the press that is a bedrock of all our rights and liberty,” the MBC said.
Moreover, the MBC said the arrest as well as the cases and intimidation hurled against Ressa and Rappler could be construed as a way of telling other journalists that the government only tolerates favorable reporting.
Ressa is out on bail, but still faces several tax evasion cases.