Philippine authorities last week released a prominent online news editor critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime after widespread criticism of her arrest.
On Wednesday, four plainclothes police officers picked up Maria Ressa from the headquarters of Rappler, an online news source she founded. She posted bail of $1,900 and officials released her the next day.
Authorities accused Ressa of libel for a 2012 article linking a Filipino businessman to murder, drug smuggling, human trafficking, and connections with a senior court judge.
Rappler criticized Duterte’s policies and some of his statements. Ressa said the government has attempted to arrest her five times before, but she was able to post bail in time to avoid detention. In 2018, Time named her one of its Persons of the Year for her journalism work. “The message that the government is sending is very clear, and someone actually told our reporter this last night: ‘Be silent, or you’re next’,” Ressa said. —O.O.
A political party in Thailand could be disqualified from the March general elections after nominating a member of the royal family as its prime ministerial candidate.
In an unprecedented move, Princess Ubolratana Mahidol, elder sister of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, on Feb. 8 announced her candidacy under the Thai Raksa Chart party.
Traditionally, Thai royals steer clear of public office. Many royals consider the party unsympathetic to the monarchy.
The party withdrew Uboltrana’s candidacy and she issued an apology after the king released a royal order calling her move “against the ancient royal protocol and national custom and culture.”
The Constitutional Court on Wednesday confirmed it received the recommendation from the country’s electoral commission to dissolve the party, since it is “in conflict with the system of rule of democracy with king as head of state.” —O.O.